State of Tourism Webinar Resources

On January 27th the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau presented a webinar on the state of the tourism industry. A number of resources were referenced or utilized for the presentation. Below are the various links of resources and information that may be of interest:

Yakima Valley VCB’s State of the Industry Webinar Slides (from 1-27-12 webinar).

Yakima Valley VCB’s 2011 Annual Report.

White House Website- Executive Order Establishing Visa and Foreign Visitor Processing Goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness

US Travel Association International and Domestic Travel forecasts

Brand USA Powerpoint on new national tourism branding efforts

Blizzard Internet Marketing: Google Thinkinsights

Chase’s State of Washington’s Economy September 2011

Inc. Online- Business Travel and Social Media

Global Business Travel news release January 10, 2012

Successful Meetings online Meeting Trends for 2012


Join us February 22 11 am at the Yakima Convention Center for a live, in-person program on how to effectively use TripAdvisor as a marketing tool for your business.  Presenter is Todd Skelton, West Coast representative for TripAdvisor.

The seminar will cover the following topics –

o             Enhancing your TripAdvisor listing

o             Enhancing your website with free TripAdvisor tools

o             Maintaining a positive online reputation

o             Responding to guest reviews on TripAdvisor

o             Implementing strategies to help get more reviews on TripAdvisor-

The session will be a presentation style where Todd will show examples of how businesses are utilizing TripAdvisor and talk about best practices.

Cost: FREE to VCB members, $22 for non-members.

RSVP: 509-575-3010 or

President Obama Unveils Strategy to Boost Travel and Tourism

President Barack Obama speaks about tourism at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

WASHINGTON, DC – In a first for the U.S., President Barack Obama announced today a national strategy on travel and tourism to boost travel in the United States. The U.S. travel industry is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, representing 1.8 trillion in economic output and supporting 14 million American jobs.

According to a White House statement, today’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes – such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274% and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010.

President Obama will also sign an Executive Order and charge several government agencies to take part in efforts and new initiatives to significantly increase travel. Some of the initiatives include: a new pilot program and rule change for visa processing in China and Brazil, a final rule to expand and make the Global Entry program permanent, appoint new members to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and the Nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.

“I am heartened the administration is doing this,” stated John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. “Tourism is crucial to our economy in the Yakima Valley. It creates 3,370 jobs and more than $331 million in annual revenues.”

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau has partnered with the U.S. Travel Association to increase travel to and within the United States.  Among U.S. Travel’s objectives for 2012 will be for the U.S. government to pursue concrete actions to increase international travel, business travel, participation in meetings and conventions and leisure travel throughout America. Policies U.S. Travel will champion include expansion of the Visa Waiver Program to Brazil, Argentina and Chile; further improvements to our entry process for international guests; streamlining the TSA experience for trusted travelers; and building an aviation system that encourages greater air travel.

“This is the first time our country has had a national strategy and set goals for the amount of visitors we want to welcome to our country. The timing of the President’s announcement could not be better.  Travel is an essential industry for our nation and a bipartisan issue that can unite our country and rally us forward.  Not only will this increase traffic to America’s wonderful destinations and attractions, but nearly half of the travelers will come to attend conferences and tradeshows,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO for the U.S. Travel Association. “The president has put forward his vision and the travel industry is ready to heed the call. U.S. Travel looks forward to working with the Administration to improve America’s economy and create more American jobs.”

Yakima Valley Visitors Bureau Saw Productive Year in 2011

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) reports 2011 was a successful year for the organization in attracting and serving visitors and groups.

The Yakima Convention Center saw significant growth last year. The center hosted 554 event days, a 14% increase over 2010. Attendance to events increased 17% to 149,543, breaking the attendance record of 143,800 set in 2006.   Earned revenue grew 17% over 2010 and exceeded 2007, the record year for the center in revenues. In its inaugural year, the new Outdoor Plaza had 27 groups utilizing the space.

Future conventions and groups booked by VCB staff were up 2% compared to 2010, and staff generated 185 qualified group business leads, an increase of 9% from 2010.  The Yakima Valley Sports Commission confirmed 365 future events for the Yakima Valley, an increase of 13% over 2010 with a projected attendance exceeding 86,800.

In consumer marketing, the VCB’s website had 211,943 unique visitors, a 28% growth in traffic over 2010 and a 76% increase over 2009. Requests for information resulting from advertising efforts increased 6.6% in 2011.

Through VCB public relations efforts, 106 media placements and articles appeared about Yakima Valley attractions and events with an advertising value exceeding $2.84 million. The Yakima Valley Visitor Information center served 14,997 visitors and responded to more than 6,600 information requests via email and phone.

More information on 2011 activities and future tourism trends will be shared during a free webinar hosted by the VCB, January 27th at 10 am. To register go to .

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the Yakima Valley. Its mission is to stimulate economic development by marketing the Yakima Valley for conventions, groups and leisure travel.

Travel Employment Ends 2011 on High Note – Successful Meetings

Conference News – Research White Papers – Travel Employment Ends 2011 on High Note – Successful Meetings.

By Matt Alderton, Successful Meetings
January 9, 2012

The U.S. labor market received good news last week: Nonfarm payroll employment added 200,000 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which announced that the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly three years.

“Month by month, industry by industry, and state by state, America’s labor market grew stronger in 2011,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement. “We’re now seeing sustained job growth across almost every industry. We created nearly 2 million private sector jobs in 2011, and the unemployment rate fell in 45 states and the District of Columbia last year. Additionally, the number of mass layoffs continued to decline, with 14 of 19 industries reporting a decrease in layoffs over the year.”

Job growth was especially strong in the travel industry, the U.S. Travel Association pointed out.

“December was a good month for the travel industry,” said David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association. “After falling two of the three prior months, employment in the travel industry rebounded in December and rose by 7,000 to a level of 7,528,000.”

According to Huether, the travel industry accounted for 7 percent of the 1.6 million jobs created during the past 12 months. What’s more, the travel industry expanded its employment base by 119,000 over the past year — doubling the jobs created by construction and real estate industries combined.

“Supporting good-paying American jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad, the travel industry has created jobs at a faster rate (2.9 percent) than the rest of the economy (2 percent) since the overall employment recovery began in March of 2010,” Huether concluded. “Increasing travel to and within the United States is a key ingredient to providing the job opportunities for the 13 million Americans who continue to be unemployed.”

Tourism Board Elects Officers

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau announces the appointment of a new chairman of the board of directors as well as new board members for 2012.  Mike Gilmore with Yakima Federal Savings & Loan will serve as Chair.  Ryan Beckett with RE/MAX Traditions will serve as Vice Chair, Wanda Riel will serve as Secretary/Treasurer and Kathy Miller Parrish with Miller & Associates Wealth Management, LLC will serve as Past President.

New board members elected to serve a two year term on the board were Kathy Corliss of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and Michael Morales for the City of Yakima. Appointed to serve a second term were Jim Milne of the Prosser Chamber of Commerce and Matt Rawn of Two Mountain Winery.

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau is the designated tourism marketing organization for Yakima County and the Yakima Valley. Its mission is to stimulate economic development by marketing the Yakima Valley for conventions, groups and leisure travel.