Washington Delegation Stands Up for Our State’s Travel Sector

Washington Delegation Stands Up for Our State’s Travel Sector

This op-ed appeared in The Spokesman-Review on May 14, 2022

By David Blandford and Meg Winchester

The United States has a well-earned reputation as one of the most desirable destinations for travelers from all over the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic severely limited global travel, impacting the small businesses and workers that depend on international guests. Fortunately, Congress has come together to provide much needed support to this vital sector by passing the Restoring Brand USA Act.

After two long years of pandemic restrictions, every sector of our statewide tourism industry is eager to accelerate the return of visitors, especially those from other countries who stay longer and spend more here in Washington.

But, despite our border with Canada and SEA’s wealth of overseas flights, international travel has been slow to recover from primary markets such as Canada and the United Kingdom. That’s why we are so grateful to Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for their bipartisan leadership passing the Restoring Brand USA Act, which is a smart public-private partnership that supports American jobs and economic activity by promoting international travel to the United States. Its renewal is vital to jump-starting international travel to Washington, and best of all, it operates at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.

With Sen. Cantwell serving as chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and Rep. McMorris Rodgers serving as the top Republican of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, our Congressional delegation played an outsized role in shaping and shepherding this essential legislation. It’s encouraging to see elected officials in different parties and chambers working together to help pass a bill that matters to Washington State’s tourism and hospitality workers and businesses.

While our industry works in concerted partnership to restore international visitation, marketing muscle of Brand USA will greatly help drive visitors back to Spokane, Seattle and other cities, rural and underserved communities, wine regions, national parks, and scenic byways, expediting recovery for communities and businesses.

The passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act as part of a larger funding package shows that Congress understands the essential role international inbound travel plays in boosting our economy. Prior to the pandemic, international travel was our nation’s top services export and the second-largest industry export overall – generating $233 billion in export spending and supporting nearly 1.2 million American jobs.

Unfortunately, the pandemic severely diminished international visitation. While domestic leisure travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, international travel spending in the U.S. is still approximately 78% below 2019 levels.

Economic forecasts predict that international travel spending will not recover until 2024 without this significant federal support.

The reduction in international travel to the U.S. has also impacted Brand USA’s funding source. Half of its budget is generated through a fee that international visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries pay when applying to come to the United States. Without visitors coming in during the pandemic, that support evaporated and without federal assistance could have remained dry for years to come. The recently passed Restoring Brand USA Act provided one-time emergency funding to restart and reinvigorate the work of bringing travelers back to Washington.

Brand USA can help travel, hospitality and other service sectors that depend on international visitors by restarting promotional campaigns in critically important source markets and driving the demand that will revive the American travel economy. As an added bonus, this support comes without taxpayer funds. The source of this one-time emergency funding is from previously collected surplus visitor fees. For every dollar spent through Brand USA, the return on investment is 25 to 1.

As we move ahead to the next stage of the pandemic, we are grateful to Sen. Cantwell and Rep. McMorris Rodgers for continuing to stand up for Washington’s travel and hospitality workers. They understand the importance of getting this vital sector of our economy back on track as soon as possible.

David Blandford is executive director at State of Washington Tourism in Seattle. Meg Winchester is president and CEO of Visit Spokane. 

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Executive Assistant

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Executive Assistant

 

Department: Executive

FLSA Status:  Exempt

Schedule:  Monday through Friday, 8:30-5:00.  Additional hours as needed.

Reports to: Executive Director

Salary: $37,000 to 73,000 per year DOE

Prepared/Revised Date: May 4, 2022

Submit resume and cover letter to:

david@stateofWAtourism.com

 

Position Description

Provides confidential executive level administrative support for the Executive Director and senior level executives. Handles a wide range of administrative and executive support related tasks with a high level of interpersonal skills to handle sensitive and confidential situations. Responsible for overall administration and support related to the State of Washington Tourism (SWT) virtual office and physical facilities, as needed.

Essential Functions

Essential functions include the following. Other duties, responsibilities, and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.

Meetings and Scheduling Coordination:

 

  • Meeting Planning – coordinates dates and availabilities for meetings, provide meeting notices and information packets, coordinate venues/meals/refreshments, record and distribute minutes
  • Acts as secretary for the SWT board of directors, scheduling and running virtual and in person meetings, maintaining and distributing meeting minutes
  • Maintains appointment schedule for Executive Director and senior staff and meeting requests both internally and externally
  • Assists in planning and execution of meetings and events
  • Ensures that the Executive Director and senior level executives have all necessary information and materials for meetings, speaking engagements, travel, and events
  • Coordinates attendance of key events and functions, including but not limited to the Board of Directors, committees and various industry functions

Administrative Assistance:

 

  • Provides administrative assistance, such as writing and editing emails, drafting memos, and preparing communications on the behalf the Executive Director or senior staff. Drafts, edits and formats documents, handbooks, policies, memos of understanding and requests for proposal as needed
  • Researches and reports on industry and related issues as needed
  • Executes special projects as assigned by the Executive Director and Board of Directors.

Office Management:

 

  • Organizes and manages SWT office, facilities and file systems, records and other documents, including virtual and hard copy files and systems. Maintains regular updates of shared office files. Organizes essential electronic and hard copy files according to staff needs and ease; ensures that all needed files are present and are continually updated throughout the year.

Finance, Budget and Invoicing Support:

 

  • Assists senior staff in administration and reporting of financial data, invoicing, financial matching and reporting requirements, as needed.

Human Resources Support:

  • Assists Executive Director with confidential filings, policy management and upates, HR operation and compliance.

Membership:

  • Maintains and manage member databases, including complete member history and updating contact info
  • Communicates with members via email and phone

Event Management and Coordination

  • As assigned, manages/coordinates organizational events such as state tourism conferences; works independently or as a team member.

Performs other duties as assigned.

 

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Strong organizational and time management skills. Ability to handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously. Strong attention to detail
  • Initiative. Ability to exercise initiative, judgment, diplomacy and maintain confidentiality in a wide variety of internal and public situations
  • Language Skills and Communication Skills. Excellent interpersonal, writing and communications skills. Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers and the general public.
  • Mathematical Skills. Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs
  • Reasoning Ability. Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form
  • Physical Demands. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk
  • Computer Skills. Proficiency in Word, Excel, and Outlook. Proficiency in Quick Books or other required financial programs
  • Education and/or Experience. Two or four-year degree in business or related field, 5-10 years of related experience, or a combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted for the requirements
  • Certificates, Licenses, or Registrations. Valid driver’s license and a clear driving record
  • Supervisory Responsibilities. No supervisory responsibilities

 

Core Competencies 

Strategic Orientation.
Ability to understand, align and apply organizational and industry visions and related implementation, to construct appropriate and effective strategic plans and thinking, effectively conveying and leading stakeholders.

 

Flexibility. Ability to work and thrive in a dynamic “start-up” environment; must be a self-starter and have an open mindset to embrace organizational development change while exercising flexibility, teamwork and a degree of ambiguity and shared responsibilities. 

 

Results Orientation. Commitment to stated goals and objectives. Elevates work and service standards in and outside the organization, striving for improvement. Regularly reports and interprets results for internal and external stakeholders. Identifies what needs to be done and do it before being asked or before the situation requires it. Does more than what is normally required in a situation, routinely going above and beyond.

 

Accountability. Takes responsibility for all work activities and personal actions. Follows through on commitments and  implements assignments and agreed upon work. Maintains confidentiality with sensitive information. Learn from mistakes, recognizes the impact of one’s behavior and actions and makes concerted effort to improve.

 

Thoroughness. Monitors and ensures own work and the work of team mates to ensure that completion and accuracy. Carefully verifies information and facts and prepares thoughtfully for meetings and presentations. Follows up with others to ensure that agreements and commitments have been fulfilled.

 

Fosters Teamwork. Possess the ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team, demonstrating interest, skill and success in getting groups to learn to work together. Listens and respond constructively and politely to other team members. Offers support for others’ ideas and is open to the concerns of team members.

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Part Time Bookkeeper

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Part-time Bookkeeper

Department: Executive

FLSA Status: Hourly, Non-Exempt

Reports to: Executive Director

Compensation: $20-30 per hour DOE

Prepared/Revised Date: May 4, 2022

Submit resume and cover letter to:

david@stateofwatourism.com

Position Description

Part-time, hourly bookkeeper responsible for accounting services, including management of financial accounts and records, tracking and processing invoices and payments and maintaining a system for organizing company financial documents. Work with Executive Director, staff members and retained accounting agency as needed in budgeting, budget management and monthly reconciliation. Virtual office requires remote work. 12-15 hours a week with Flexible hours available following initial training. Occasional in-person tasks and meetings in the Seattle area.

Essential Functions

Essential functions include the following. Other duties, responsibilities, and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.

Accounts Payable

  • Perform regular A/P input, ensuring timeliness and accuracy
  • Monthly journal entries and account reconciliations
  • Vendor relationship management

Financial Transactions

  • Record financial transactions and fact-checking of accounting data; assemble financial reports as needed
  • Prepare weekly and monthly reports as requested by management

Payroll

  • Track payroll/benefit data, managing systems and troubleshooting as needed

Finance, Budget, and Invoicing Support

  • Assists senior staff in administration and reporting of financial data, invoicing, financial matching and reporting requirements, as needed.

Accounts Receivable

  • Perform regular A/R input, ensuring timeliness and accuracy
  • Monthly journal entries and account reconciliations
  • Following up on collections of aged accounts receivable

Miscellaneous Project Support

  • Ad hoc work related to organizational funding and related reports, invoicing and expense reimbursements; grant accounting, reporting and dispersal; other accounting or financial support work as needed.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience. A/P, A/R, payroll, general ledger and financial account reconciliations.
  • Computer Skills. Proficiency in Word, Excel, and Outlook. Proficiency in Quick Books Pro and/or QuickBooks Online or other required financial programs
  • Mathematical Skills. Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs
  • Strong organizational and time management skills. Ability to handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously. Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to exercise initiative, judgment, diplomacy and maintain confidentiality in a wide variety of internal and public situations
  • Client/customer management. Ability to provide information, respond to questions and troubleshoot from groups of managers, clients, customers and the general public
  • Ability to work independently and remotely.
  • Education and/or Experience. BS Degree in Accounting, Finance or Business Administration preferred
  • Certificates, Licenses, or Registrations. Valid driver’s license and a clear driving record
  • Supervisory Responsibilities. No supervisory responsibilities
  • Physical Demands. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk

Newly Released State Tourism Statistics Show Washington Remains Significantly Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Newly Released State Stats Show Washington Tourism Remains Significantly Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

SEATTLE (May 4, 2022) – New figures released by State of Washington Tourism (SWT) indicate significant improvement in the state’s visitor volume, expenditures, tax receipts, and employment in 2021 over 2020, but the statistics illustrate that tourism recovery still lags significantly behind 2019 levels

In 2019, immediately preceding the pandemic, visitor volume increased by 2% to a total of 110 million, and their direct spending totaled $21.9 billion, up 4.5% in current dollars over 2018. On average, visitors spent $60 million per day in Washington State in 2019. State and local taxes, generated by this spending, tallied nearly $2.4 billion in 2019, a 5.4% increase. The state’s tourism industry supported nearly 165,000 jobs in 2019, an increase of 2.3% over the previous year, and those jobs generated direct income of $5.7 billion.

The state tourism industry’s current total economic output of $29.5 billion pales in comparison to robust pre-pandemic growth; however, visitor spending increased 4.8% per annum between 2015 and 2019, generating $10.9 billion in direct state GDP in 2019 alone, before the industry’s near total shutdown in 2020 due to COVID-19. Tourism employment saw cumulative growth of 15% in that five-year period

Prior to the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality sector led job growth in the state. Tourism supports 205,000 jobs in Washington State, including both direct and indirectly-related jobs, having increased 8.7% over 2020. Direct jobs numbered 131,000, with 48,807 in the food and beverage sector, followed by 23,557 in recreation, 19,366 in retail, and 22,991 in lodging; some 73,000 were indirectly supported by tourism.

According to Economic Impacts of Visitors in Washington State, compiled by national travel research firm Tourism Economics on behalf of SWT, the state’s visitor volume last year increased 19.7% over 2020 to 95.3 million – indicating significant growth – but still at just 87% of 2019 levels. Visitor expenditures increased 36.2% to $17.7 billion, just 81% of 2019’s level.

In contrast to those figures, however, state and local tax revenue increased 27.6% to $2.4 billion, offsetting the average state household tax burden by $669 per year. In 2020, the household offset provided by visitors to the state was just $544.

“The Washington State visitor economy experienced a promising rebound in 2021 but still registered nearly 20% below 2019 levels,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics. “Full recovery of the Washington travel economy will require concerted policy and marketing initiatives to capitalize on strong, pent-up demand for travel in the US.”

“We’ve seen the tremendous economic potential of tourism juxtaposed with fragility during the pandemic,” said David Blandford, SWT’s executive director. “We must ensure that our tourism industry can sustain itself, first and foremost, in order to fulfill its vital role in restoring our broader state economy.”

Economic Impacts of Visitors in Washington State compiled survey data from Longwoods International; the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by industry; STR lodging performance data; tax collections, including lodging tax receipts; US Census business sales by industry and seasonal second homes; and international travel data for overseas, Canadian and Mexican travel to the US, based on aviation, survey and credit card information.

 

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (SWT) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for marketing efforts and creates and implements a strategic statewide marketing plan. For more information, visit www.stateofWAtourism.com.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Sienna Spencer Markles

Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism

E: WATourismPR@greenrubino.com

P: 206-957-4266

SWT Launching Tourism Skillshop Webinar Series

State of Washington Tourism Launching Tourism Skillshop Webinar Series

In an ongoing effort to engage with professionals across the tourism sector, State of Washington Tourism (SWT) is launching Tourism Skillshop, a free educational webinar series.

Each month, SWT will host a webinar highlighting a specific topic or skill for tourism professionals to discuss with industry experts. Special attention will be devoted to issues affecting those in rural and underserved communities.

The webinars will be held from 10-11 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month via Zoom. The first webinar, FAM Tour Best Practices, will be held April 21 and focus on tips for planning familiarization (FAM) tours. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the topic with colleagues and ask questions of industry experts with years of experience.

Guest panelists for the FAM Tour Best Practices webinar include:

The speakers will address a range of best practices involving cost, planning, key stakeholders, and the visitor experience. The panel will be moderated by Matthew Ozuna, destination development manager for SWT. All webinars will be recorded and shared with registrants.

Register for the Webinar.

To help identify topics for future webinars in the Tourism Skillshop series, SWT encourages industry professionals to complete a 2-minute survey. Participation is voluntary and personal information will not be shared.

Take the survey.

For webinar and general industry updates, follow SWT on LinkedIn.

Have questions? Please contact Matthew Ozuna.

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (the recently rebranded Washington Tourism Alliance) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements the strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit the destination website at www.stateofWAtourism.com or the tourism industry site at www.industry.stateofWAtourism.com.

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Applicants for Rural Tourism Support Program

State of Washington Tourism Seeks Applicants for Rural Tourism Support Program

SEATTLE (March 10, 2022) — State of Washington Tourism (SWT) is seeking applicants for the Rural Tourism Support (RTS) program. This program will guide the development of an actionable vision for regional tourism among stakeholders in several communities.

Destination marketing organizations, businesses, community organizations, local governments, tribal governments and enterprises, or a combination thereof are all encouraged to apply. The application period for the RTS program will close on April 20, and the inductee for fall 2022 will be announced on May 11. Applicants must identify tourism as an economic development strategy and intend to work collaboratively with regional partners as a visitor destination.

The RTS program will implement a community tourism approach to destination development and be facilitated by sustainable tourism expert Kristin Dahl, founder of Crosscurrent Collective. A committee of local stakeholders will determine key action items, including a 10-year vision for the evolution of the destination and a better understanding of how regional, national and global travel trends apply locally, with the goal of improving the quality of place for visitors and residents.

Upon successful completion of the program after 6-8 months, tourism stakeholders are encouraged to apply for financial assistance from SWT and other benefactors to support priority projects identified in a series of community workshops.

“The RTS program is a key pillar of SWT’s destination development plan,” said David Blandford, executive director of SWT. “It will serve as a model for communities across the state to strive for more sustainable tourism growth.”

The next application cycle for the RTS program will open this fall, with community workshops set for spring 2023. After a competitive review by industry experts, the Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD) in Northeastern Washington was selected as the inaugural destination for the RTS program.

“It is so exciting to think of the possibilities that a project with the scope of the Rural Tourism Support Program can bring to northeast Washington,” said Shelly Stevens, director of regional marketing for TEDD. “The pandemic has changed the way people travel and how they experience a destination. The timing couldn’t be better to collaboratively develop a thoughtful, regionwide tourism plan to help guide stakeholders into the future.”

To apply, download the application for the RTS program. For questions regarding the application process or other aspects of the program, contact Matthew Ozuna, SWT destination development manager, at matthew@stateofwatourism.com. He will receive applications via email until 5 p.m. on April 20. Please include “Destination Development Application” in the subject line.

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (the recently rebranded Washington Tourism Alliance) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements the strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit the destination website at www.stateofWAtourism.com or the tourism industry site at www.industry.stateofWAtourism.com.

State of Washington Tourism Seeks PR Manager

State of Washington Tourism Public Relations Manager

Job Description: 

State of Washington Tourism

www.industry.stateofWAtourism.com

Position: Public Relations Manager

Salary: $70,000 – $75,000 annually

Status: Permanent, exempt

Reports to: Director of Marketing

Closing Date: Open until filled

Company Location: Virtual office with potential for a future office location in the Puget Sound area.

If you are interested and you meet the selection criteria, please respond with a resume and cover letter. Applicants must be a Washington State resident or willing to relocate at their own expense. Send resume and cover letter to michelle@stateofwatourism.com. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Position Description

State of Washington Tourism (SWT) is the destination marketing organization for the state of Washington, promoting travel to and within the state through advertising, public relations, travel trade relationships, social media, and additional avenues. The public relations manager will lead media relations, hosting and responsive media tasks for the organization. They will oversee daily tasks of SWT’s Public Relations Agency and work closely with the director of marketing to align on broad public relations goals and accountabilities. In partnership with the public relations agency, the manager will generate story pitches, write press releases and proactively report on public relations results. Strong knowledge of Washington State’s tourism assets, visitor experiences and appeals is essential for this position. Candidates must possess exceptional writing and editing skills.

Job duties

  • Initiate and foster positive domestic and international media relationships on behalf of SWT
  • Represent SWT at media events and tradeshows
  • Respond to media inquiries and gather accurate information and resources to fulfill media requests
  • Write communication updates for tourism PR professionals around the state
  • Writes press releases on SWT initiatives and tourism developments in the state
  • Create and edit media itineraries
  • Create and maintain media kits and press materials
  • Host individual media and media familiarization tours (FAMs) to help secure positive coverage of the state of Washington as a visitor destination
  • Curates and maintains database of media contacts
  • Maintains knowledge of PR best practices to meet evolving media needs
  • Develops and leads annual internal public relations plan
  • In partnership with the director of marketing, sets strategic public relations goals and KPIs on a quarterly and annual basis
  • Assists in corporate communications for the organization
  • Handles responsive public relations tasks including sourcing information and photos, providing fact-checking and connecting writers to quality interview sources

Requirements/Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree from an academic institution in public relations, journalism, communications, English or similar field, OR equivalent work experience
  • 2-4 years of experience in public relations, communications or journalism
  • Strong grasp of AP Style and writing/editing conventions
  • Excellent communication skills with a passion for thinking creatively to solve problems.
  • Knowledge of PR and media best practices
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to form quick connections with members of the press, ascertain and fulfill media needs to ensure positive coverage.
  • Strong organizational skills, with a proven track record of project management
  • Excellent computer skills with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite

Preferred

  • Experience in travel or hospitality PR
  • Knowledge of destination publicity or experience in the industry
  • Experience managing photo and video assets
  • Corporate communications experience
  • Experience hosting media
  • Experience using a CRM/database system to track coverage and generate reports

About the Organization State of Washington Tourism is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The SWT began as an industry advocacy organization following the 2011 closure of the Washington State tourism office by the state legislature. Years of subsequent work to re-establish an industry-led statewide tourism marketing program culminated in 2018 when Governor Jay Inslee signed enabling legislation with a 2:1 private-public sector matching fund program.

The SWT was contracted as the state destination marketing organization later that year. The SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan.

This innovative public-private funding model, coupled with the process of re-building the state tourism marketing program and competitively re-positioning the destination, offers an exciting landscape for the SWT team, not to mention the opportunity for professional development and growth as the organization progresses.

State of Washington Tourism supports social justice, human rights, cultural preservation and public safety for all. As such, all travelers should feel welcome and safe, and host communities and travel and tourism suppliers should be respected by their guests. At its best, travel offers inherent social and cultural exchange that fosters understanding and acceptance. SWT seeks to advance these values throughout its marketing, communications and travel advisory programs.

Statewide Launch of TREAD Map App Planned for Spring 2022

STATEWIDE LAUNCH OF TREAD MAP APP PLANNED FOR SPRING 2022

The one-stop resource propelled by recreationists and land management agencies will help manage recreational flow and provide real-time travel advisories for State of Washington visitors

SEATTLE (February 15, 2022) State of Washington Tourism, in partnership with TREAD (Trails, Recreation, Education, Advocacy, and Development) and Dharma Maps, plans to make its robust location-based app available for public use across Washington this spring, in time for the warm-weather recreation and travel season.

The TREAD Map App is a one-stop resource that provides real-time trail and recreational data, updates and advisories. The app assists recreationists with trip planning and safety, while simultaneously helping land managers monitor and influence traffic flow and recreational gateway communities plan and preserve their visitor services, public health and search-and-rescue resources.

TREAD is currently in development for statewide use following a successful 2021 pilot program in the trails and lakes region of Central Washington (Kittitas, Grant, Douglas, Chelan and Okanagan Counties).

“The TREAD Map App is not only a fully functioning passion project created for and with our outdoor recreation enthusiasts, it positions the State of Washington to take a leadership role in outdoor recreation and allows us to showcase the diverse terrain and experiences we have to offer here,” said Jerri Barkley, Destination Marketing Operations at the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The ability to highlight supporting partners and offer users the option to contribute to future projects is just an example of its additional future benefits.”

Several other regions are planning to deploy the TREAD Map App when its development concludes this spring, including Bellingham and Whatcom County. “We are thrilled that we will be able to keep our outdoor enthusiasts and visitors updated in real time,” said Sandy Ward, president and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. “Our land managers and parks departments can’t wait to get their hands on the app. It’s an exciting new chapter for us.”

The app offers comprehensive, up-to-date recreation maps that include hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails, along with custom layers and up-to-the minute safety alerts. The user interface allows land managers and recreationists to share current conditions, photos, weather information, tips on crowded trailheads with alternate suggestions and more. From overuse of popular trails to wildfire and smoke alerts and warnings of avalanches and other conditions, the TREAD Map App provides a go-to resource for real-time updates and advisories.

“Responsible travel, trip planning and public-private coordination are critical to the recovery of the tourism industry and sustainability of natural resources and statewide communities, now and in the future,” said David Blandford, Executive Director of State of Washington Tourism.

“Who better to advise recreationists than other recreationists?” said Mat Lyons, TREAD’s executive director. “Users care about the outdoor experience and are natural stewards of the environment. This app invites those who care to share what they love about Washington’s outdoor attractions while helping educate on our inherent responsibilities as recreationists.”

The partnership between State of Washington Tourism (SWT), TREAD, and Dharma Maps offers innovative solutions to common industry issues across Washington. SWT, the state’s official destination marketing organization, joined as program partner and will promote uploads and usage of the app through marketing and communications campaigns that reach Washington residents and out-of-state travelers.

The TREAD Map App will be available for download for iOS and Android beginning in April.

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (the recently rebranded Washington Tourism Alliance) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements the strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit the destination website at www.stateofWAtourism.com or the tourism industry site at www.industry.stateofWAtourism.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Sienna Spencer Markles

Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism

E: WATourismPR@greenrubino.com

Washington Tourism Alliance Unveils New Brand

STATE OF WASHINGTON TOURISM UNVEILS “TRUE TO NATURE” CAMPAIGN AND REFRESHED BRAND TO INSPIRE TRANSFORMATIVE AND IMMERSIVE TRAVEL

SEATTLE (January 4, 2022) – State of Washington Tourism (SWT), previously known as the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA), today launched a refreshed brand and tourism marketing program. “The State of Washington” will replace Experience WA is the consumer facing brand, and a complementary industry identity, State of Washington Tourism, will align public and industry facing programs. The rebrand includes new logos, colors and fonts along with a modernized inspirational travel website.

Along with the brand comes a new consumer campaign, “#TrueToNature,” now running in select markets throughout Washington and multiple states across the western US. The primary goal of the “#TrueToNature” campaign is to drive travel to Washington by increasing awareness of the state’s visitor offerings and moving travelers to consider booking.

The foundational mission of SWT is to inspire visitors from around the world with a “traveler first” approach to tourism, thereby reaching and encouraging those who wish to experience thought-provoking and transformative travel moments uniquely their own.

“The new brand and campaign were co-created and shaped by stakeholders from across the state,” said David Blandford, executive director of SWT. “It was a thoughtful process that allowed us to uncover a brand that is an authentic reflection of our destination. We leaned into many of the findings we uncovered throughout the past year. We believe responsibility and inclusivity need to be embedded in our work from the ground up, and that this mindset will help us attract travelers who put values-based decisions first.”

The new destination website — StateOfWaTourism.com — will serve as a dynamic travel resource for visitors, offering statewide trip inspiration, regional and geographic resources, road-trip itinerary suggestions and immersive maps. The brand encapsulates rural, urban and outdoor experiences and highlights the geographical diversity of the state: from coastal beaches to mountainous national parks, from sophisticated cities and charming towns to evergreen forests and flourishing farms and from sunny archipelagos to ancient volcanos.  Washington’s essential storytelling elements — arts and culture; heritage and family; sports; food, wine, beer, and spirits; and natural beauty and outdoor adventure — are the foundation for transformative and meaningful experiences.

The destination’s new campaign, “#TrueToNature,” focuses on transformative travel by highlighting four groups of visitors that share their real travel stories as they visit Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, Spokane and the San Juan Islands. The videos are designed to engage and inspire those seeking spontaneous and authentic travel experiences, resulting in intimate, personal memories. The campaign will use a combination of social, digital and traditional advertising and marketing efforts in select markets, including Seattle; Vancouver, BC; California; Oregon; Arizona; Montana; Idaho; and Colorado. The creative campaign was created in partnership with Adventure Creative.

New destination images can be downloaded here. New videos can be viewed here.

In 2018, legislation was passed to reestablish a statewide destination marketing organization. Today, SWT serves as the state contractor to promote Washington as a top American tourist destination. In 2019, there was $21.8 billion in visitor spending in the State of Washington supporting various industry sectors (as reported by Tourism Economics).

For more information about State of Washington Tourism, please visit stateofwatourism.com.

Connect with State of Washington Tourism on social media using the #TrueToNature hashtag and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (SWT) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders, with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for marketing efforts and creates and implements a strategic statewide marketing plan. For more information, visit www.industry.stateofwatourism.com.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Tracy Rabsky / Sienna Spencer Markles

Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism

E: WATourismPR@greenrubino.com

Washington Tourism Alliance Announces New Rural Tourism Support Program

Washington Tourism Alliance Announces New Rural Tourism Support Program
Tri-County Economic Development District Picked for Pilot Program

SEATTLE (November 11, 2021) – The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is launching a new Rural Tourism Support (RTS) Program, and has selected Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD) in Northeastern Washington as its Inaugural destination partner through a competitive process and review by a panel of industry experts.

The RTS program will serve as a seminal phase of development for communities across the state as well as a key strategic element In the WTA’s broader destination development programming. The program and WTA’s ongoing commitment to rural and tourism dependent communities operates in tandem with broader marketing programs and a focus on statewide natural wonders and outdoor recreation, attraction of international visitors, identification of local visitor offerings and assistance for tourism areas adversely impacted by natural disasters.

The RTS program will be facilitated by sustainable tourism expert Kristin Dahl, founder of Crosscurrent Collective, and it will use a community-based progressive approach to achieve short-term and long-term goals. A committee of local stakeholders will determine key action items, including a ten-year vision for the evolution of the destination and a better understanding of regional, national and global travel trends. In some communities, growth may be one of the objectives but, in many cases, development may incorporate management of visitor flow to communities that need them most while mitigating impact on others. In all cases, the program is designed to improve the experience for residents and visitors alike.

“It is so exciting to think of the possibilities that a project with the scope of the Rural Tourism Support Program can bring to Northeast Washington,” said Shelly Stevens, director of regional marketing for TEDD. “Especially considering that the way people travel and what they want to experience have changed in the wake of the pandemic. The timing couldn’t be better to collaboratively develop a thoughtful, regionwide tourism plan to help guide us into the future,”

The mission of TEDD is to promote economic resiliency, job creation and business retention through maintaining and developing business, tourism, community and area development, while preserving the culture and environment of Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties. The WTA’s partnership with TEDD will result in a tourism road map that will significantly and positively impact the region.

The Tri-County region is the first in what will be ongoing annual partnerships with Washington’s rural, tourism-dependent counties.

“We’re excited to inaugurate our Rural Tourism Support Program and to work closely with in these communities In Northeast Washington,” said David Blandford, WTA Executive Director. “Our enabling legislation identified the importance of this role and the rigor of the pandemic underscores the critical need for tourism recovery.”
Managed and funded by the WTA, the RTS Program will focus on long-term destination development for both residents and visitors, along with sustainable tourism and regenerative travel. The application process for the next RTS partner destination will begin in spring 2022, followed by a fall launch.

About Washington Tourism Alliance

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders, with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for marketing efforts and creates and implements a strategic statewide marketing plan. For more information, visit www.industry.stateofwatourism.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sienna Spencer-Markles
Public Relations, GreenRubino for Washington Tourism Alliance
P: 818-281-7416
E: siennasm@greenrubino.com