49 states in the US currently have a state-sponsored tourism marketing program. The only one that doesn’t is Washington. This could all change if the state legislators pass a new bill.
The bill calls for allocating $15 million over the course of two-year periods to fund a Tourism Marketing Authority. This official organization would be responsible for creating and executing plans to showcase what the state has to offer to visitors.
Seattle has seen its tourism industry boom in recent years, but this growth hasn’t been reflected in other regions. The group will be expected to identify areas that could benefit from enhanced marketing and then get the word out that the four corners of the state are all attractive to visitors.
The money for the new agency would come from taxes in addition to private funds. Those taxes would be generated from general sales taxes on travel items like hotels, restaurants, and rental cars. In fact, those taxes are already being collected, and the bill would simply reappropriate how they are allocated. This makes it a win-win for everyone. More visitors bring in more money, and the economies across the state should hopefully experience benefits.
The state used to have a tourism office, but it was forced to close during the recession in 2011. At that time, budgets were tightening in multiple areas, and the organization didn’t make the cut. After a period of hiatus, the tourism group can hopefully relaunch and become successful once again.