I've mentioned before that the State Tourism Office that operated within the Department of Commerce is closing at the end of this month. And I know I've mentioned the creation of the new Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA). Several things are taking place right now, so it seems a good opportunity to give you all an update:

First, thank you to Marsha Massey and her team at the tourism office. They have laid a foundation our industry can build upon and I can tell you from the emails and voice mails I get at crazy hours that there is no 'short-timer' attitude--Marsha is working diligently to ensure the assets of the tourism office make as smooth a transition as possible to the WTA. We wish Marsha all the best success in her next adventure.

Many loyal and dedicated volunteers have worked to draft bylaws, review applications for an interim director and create a temporary team to manage the day-to-day operations of WTA. The TRCVB is intimately involved in incubating the WTA and we are very excited to see the progress made and coming soon.

The immediate next steps will be ratifying bylaws, expanding the board to include more members with regional and industry sector representation, and hiring an interim director, who we hope to have in place next month.

The support throughout the state is much appreciated and a vital element during this transitional time. Response from stakeholders and individuals has been quite exciting, and with a transitional team, WTA is beginning to harness that support to drive forward.

So how can you help? Become a member, and offer to volunteer. Soon nominations will be sought from members for the expanded board. Working committees will be formed. Trade shows approach and assets will transition. This organization needs you to fulfill its potential as a dynamic, industry-driven statewide tourism marketing entity.

Join 17 other organizations as a Founding Partner [$5,000], or 16 others as a Founding Associate Partner [$2,500], or 61 others as Company Members [$300] or even the 65 individual members for only $25. There is opportunity for everyone to be involved, regardless of your financial situation.

It is members' belief in the industry, their generous support and recognizing Tourism Matters that makes WTA a reality. Everyone is encouraged to become a member of WTA by visiting WATourismAlliance.com