Yesterday I posted a blog focusing on Tourism Promotion efforts in the Wenatchee Valley. Today I received the following statement from the Washington Tourism Commission related to the Governor’s proposed budget for July 2011 through June 2013 which would eliminate the State Tourism Office and end all State tourism promotion activities. As you can see, the Commission is looking for a new funding model that does not rely on the State General Fund.
STATEMENT FROM TOURISM COMMISSION
TO WASHINGTON’S TRAVEL INDUSTRY
RE: BUDGET SITUATION AND GOING FORWARD
The Washington State Tourism Commission recognizes the important role that tourism plays in Washington’s economy, by bringing in visitor spending, in generating tax revenues and in creating jobs. The Commission understands that attracting visitors doesn’t “just happen”, and it is committed to the continuation of statewide tourism marketing. The critical task of identifying a new, sustainable and viable long-term funding solution for this vital economic engine is urgent now in light of the Governor’s proposed biennial budget, which, if approved, would completely eliminate the state tourism office and its programs. An active Tourism Funding Workgroup, comprised of private as well as public sector tourism leaders, has been working toward funding solutions for some months, and will continue with an even keener sense of urgency. Time is of the essence. Planning is underway for a February industry-wide summit meeting to present and discuss a new funding model option. During the next six months, the Tourism Office is moving ahead with execution on the approved FY2011 Marketing Plan, including full distribution, both in print and electronic versions, of its 2011 Official Washington State Travel Planner, and will be launching the spring/summer promotion as planned. Also during this next six months, the Commission will work with the Department of Commerce and the tourism staff to ensure the preservation of valuable state tourism program assets that will be needed for future success. The Tourism Commission recognizes the progress made over the last three years, and is committed to working with the state’s travel industry leaders, the Department of Commerce and the tourism office to ensure that forward momentum is not lost.
Any questions and/or comments may be addressed to Marsha Massey, Executive Director for Washington State Tourism, email@example.com.
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