Yakima Valley Washington 2012 Tourism Report

The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) reports 2012 was a successful year for the organization in attracting and serving visitors.

In 2012 the Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities VCBs assumed ownership and management of the Washington Wine Country marketing organization. In addition, the Yakima Valley VCB took the leadership role to expand the Alaska Airlines Taste and Tote program throughout the region. This program gives visitors three incentives to visit:  It allows visitors to check a case of wine free from Yakima, Pasco, or Walla Walla airports on Alaska Airlines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car waives rental car drop-off fees at these airports and visitors presenting an Alaska Airlines boarding pass at participating wineries receive waived tasting fees.

The Yakima Convention Center hosted 125,127 visitors during 494 event days in 2012 and brought in nearly $9 million to the local economy. Earned revenue hit an all-time high of just under $800,000.

Sports events continue to expand and grow, providing economic benefits and exposure for the Yakima Valley.  The Yakima Valley Sports Commission estimates the economic impact of sports tourism in the Yakima Valley was $33 million in 2012 (up 15% from 2011) and the number of sporting events held was 416 (up 8% from 2011). In addition, the Sports Commission launched Pirate Plunder Adventure Race, which welcomed 878 runners in its inaugural year.

The VCB’s website visityakimavalley.org had a total of 252,340 page views, a 19% increase over 2011 and a 52% increase over 2010.  The VCB launched a number of new marketing projects, including WineDoggies.com, a website dedicated to visitors who travel with their dogs. In September that program won a ab award from the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

Through VCB public relations efforts, 95 travel media placements and articles appeared about Yakima Valley with an advertising value exceeding $1.56 million.  The Yakima Valley Visitor Information center served 14,492 visitors and responded to more than 8,654 information requests via email and phone (up 31%).

A copy of their 2012 Annual Report can be found at http://budurl.com/12AnRep

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.

Visitors Bureau Receives Wine Award

WineAwardsSeal_kThe Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau was recognized yesterday with a Grand Award by the Washington Wine Commission at it’s tenth annual Washington State Wine Awards ceremony in Seattle.  The event recognized industry leaders that exhibit strong support of Washington wines and high professional standards in wine service.

After a decade of honoring restaurants, the commission expanded its prestigious award program to celebrate additional industries and individuals whose work raises the profile of Washington State wine throughout the state and beyond.

Monday’s ceremony at McCaw Hall in Seattle showcased exemplary retailers, tourism professionals and distributors for the first time, along with restaurants. Winners were selected from more than 100 nominations and were chosen for their impressive menus, innovative educational programs and marketing efforts, and commitment to excellent service.

“The nominees and winners of the Washington State Wine Awards perform a vital role in shaping Washington State as both a favored home and destination for those who enjoy outstanding wines,” said Commission President Steve Warner.

Walter Clore Honorarium: Doug Charles (Anacortes)

Restaurant of the Year: Visconti’sof Wenatchee

Sommelier of the Year: Thomas Price of Metropolitan Grill(Seattle)

Best Event Featuring Washington Wine: Urbane(Seattle)

Independent Restaurant of the Year: Copperleaf Restaurant at the Cedarbrook Lodge (SeaTac)

Best Restaurant Group: Mackay Restaurant Group, operator of El Gaucho restaurants (Western Washington)

Tourism Champion of the Year: Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau

Tourism Concierge of the Year: Anne Peavey, of Seattle’s Convention and Bureau Visitor

Hotel of the Year:  Hotel Vintage Park(Seattle)

Retailer of the Year: Metropolitan Market (Seattle, Kirkland)

Retailer Group of the Year: Yoke’s Fresh Markets (Eastern Washington)

Independent Retailer of the Year: Wine World and Spirits (Seattle)

Retail Steward of the Year: Doug King of Metropolitan Market

Distributor of the Year: Young’s Market Company(Western United States)

Distributor Salesperson of the Year: Kris Patten of Young’s Market Company (Seattle)