Statement provided by Washington Tourism Alliance:
The Washington Tourism Alliance made substantial progress in the 2017 Washington legislative session to establish a Statewide Tourism Marketing Program.
Thanks to the impact of more than 700 individual tourism advocates and dozens of allied cities, counties, ports, business and nonprofit organizations, state legislators heard us loud and clear: it's time to invest in a public-private tourism marketing program to increase economic development, jobs, and tax revenue by attracting more visitors to every corner of Washington.
Several key legislative leaders made tourism their priority and worked hard to get bills passed in one of the toughest sessions in state history. There is still more work to be done to establish the framework of a Tourism Marketing Authority and a fully funded Statewide Tourism Marketing Program, but the momentum is moving in the right direction for tourism.
- A bipartisan working group of lawmakers supported legislation (SHB1123/SSB5251) which received nearly unanimous support from House and Senate committees. After three legislative sessions, the clock ran out on the underlying legislation but it is still very much alive for the 2018 session which starts in less than six months.
- The 2017-19 state budget contains $500,000 for the development of a statewide marketing plan as the foundation to attract industry investments to match (2-to-1) future state dollars for tourism marketing. The WTA will be directly involved with the state in guiding the development of the marketing plan.
In the coming weeks, the WTA will have more details on the next steps but we are thankful to our legislative champions, advocates and grassroots network. The WTA will continue the fight for a statewide tourism marketing program while we continue to reach out and grow our membership.
Thank you for all you've done to support tourism in Washington state and please stay involved with the WTA - we are closer than ever and the horizon is bright!