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.

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