What an exciting time! You'll see all kinds of entries in this month's newsletter about tradeshows and travel. Our strategic planning focus groups are coming up this month and there are great things afoot.
In September I was on the road a great deal. Sept. 11-15 I was in Washington, DC, working with Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and U.S. Travel Association (USTA). I participated on a panel for USTA's ?Grassroots Boot Camp? and met with the offices of most of our Washington senators and congressmen on issues such as travel VISAs and TSA streamlining. I am glad to report there is movement on both issues as well as others important to the travel industry.

Why would I spend time doing such a thing? For travelers from many countries, and importantly to our region, obtaining travel visas is causing us to lose market share due to lengthy waiting periods and difficult procedures. When we have a country such as China interested in tourism in the Pacific Northwest and the opportunity to tap into their projected doubling of overseas travel, we need to work to remove those obstacles to maximize our investment.

Sept. 16-25 I joined Shauna Lunde, the Seattle CVB, the Port of Seattle, EverGreen Escapes, May Travel and Seattle Center on a sales/trade mission to China. We met with nearly 250 travel sellers and media in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Our new destination video was a giant hit and there was great interest in our area. We are excited to follow up with our contacts and work to get Pierce County products sold to the lucrative Chinese traveler.

In all, I traveled more than 18,000 miles and spent 50 hours on airplanes in just over two weeks'and I would happily do it again for the growth of Pierce County's important tourism industry.