SEATTLE (June 5, 2023) – The Walla Walla region will participate in the next Rural Tourism Support (RTS) program by State of Washington Tourism (SWT). Visit Walla Walla will serve as the lead for tourism stakeholders in Wallla Walla County and surrounding areas. A panel of industry experts selected the region as the third destination for the RTS program after a competitive process with other regions across the state.
Launched in 2021, the RTS program is a key pillar of SWT’s destination development strategy and serves as a vital resource for underserved communities. Program applicants must identify tourism as an economic development strategy and intend to work collaboratively with regional partners as a visitor destination.
The RTS program serves as a model for communities across the state striving for more sustainable tourism growth. The program implements a community tourism approach to destination development and is facilitated by sustainable tourism expert Kristin Dahl, founder of Crosscurrent Collective. A committee of local stakeholders determines 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 eight to nine months, tourism stakeholders are encouraged to apply for financial assistance from SWT and other funding sources to support priorities projects identified in a series of community workshops.
“The Rural Tourism Support program is an exciting opportunity to bring together new and established community stakeholders from around the Walla Walla Valley to envision a future of tourism for the benefit and enjoyment of locals and visitors,” said Guy Glaeser, executive director of Visit Walla Walla. “We look forward to supporting existing strengths — notably Walla Walla Valley wine — and to further develop the diverse amenities and activities beyond wine in this region.”
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.
Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism