tourism professionals discussion on the future of state tourism

Washington tourism promotion funding has been minimal despite the industry's history of lobbying efforts for enhanced funding. While a statewide advocacy campaign came together in 2005, Washington State's financial downturn and the global economic recession weren't far behind. While it was expected that the WA State Tourism office would be cut it was a surprise that it was happening so soon.

Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) was recently established by industry stakeholders. The WTA mission is to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well being of the Washington tourism industry. The WTA is supported by the following organizations to market WA State as a tourism destination:

  • Washington Destination Marketing Organizations Association (WSDMO)
  • Port of Seattle
  • Puget Sound Attractions Council (PSAC)
  • National Tour Association (NTA)
  • Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA)
  • Association of Washington Business (AWB)
  • Washington Lodging Association (WLA)
  • Destination Media Alliance
  • Red Lion Hotels
  • Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission
  • NW Winter Sports foundation
  • Sterling Hospitality
  • Suquamish Tribe
  • Many individuals and small businesses who depend on tourism


I attended the WTA summit on March 30, where nearly 500 tourism professionals from around the state came together to discuss the future of tourism. Mike Gallager from CityPass and Ron Peck from the Alaska Travel Industry Association spoke about how California and Alaska overcame similar challenges and formed alternatives to government funding for state tourism. Their advice:

  • Do what the industry cannot do for itself
  • Leverage cooperative marketing programs
  • Evaluate programs' return on investment and measures on major programs
  • Focus on out-of-state and international audiences
  • Support assessed businesses
  • Establish a technology platform for all programs
  • Align with key Washington DMOs to coordinate resources based on high-impact programs and initiatives


WA State Tourism's final marketing campaign will encourage locals to ?Share Your Washington.? A sneak-peak of the campaign was unveiled at the culmination of the WTA Summit and will launch by the end of April. WTA will work very closely with the State Tourism office in its final days to preserve valuable resources such as and to keep the momentum going with the current statewide coordination and marketing efforts.

For more information visit or watch the summit on YouTube.