Walsh appointed to state Tourism Marketing Authority Board

OLYMPIA – State Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, has been appointed to the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board, overseeing efforts to promote travel and tourism statewide.

The board, established this year by the Legislature, puts the state back into the business of promoting Washington to travelers beyond the state’s borders. State-managed efforts to promote tourism were dropped in 2011 during the Great Recession, and subsequent marketing efforts were handled by a private non-profit tourism-industry association, the Washington Tourism Alliance.

“It’s time again for us to look at ways we can promote our state to travelers across the nation and world,” Walsh said. “Our mountains, beaches, lakes, rivers and forests make Washington a destination of unparalleled beauty. In the 16th District, our vineyards and wineries make us a mecca for wine enthusiasts nationwide. Tourism is especially important for the smaller communities in some of our most picturesque areas. We need to let the world know what we have to offer.”

This year’s SB 5251 created the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority to develop a statewide tourism plan and contract for marketing services. The plan will be funded by a share of sales taxes collected on lodging, car rental and restaurants, up to $5 million a biennium, to be matched by private funds. The 13-member board includes four lawmakers and nine representatives of the tourism industry and related businesses.