Sen. John Braun introduced Senate Bill 6195 this session that would create a task force to study how the state can better market the state’s tourism industry. Tourism is the fourth largest export industry in the state and accounts for more than 150,000 jobs. Today the governor signed the House companion to Braun’s bill that directs the Washington Tourism Alliance to identify sustainable private funding sources for the state’s tourism marketing needs.
In 2011 the Washington State Tourism Commission was defunded due to budgetary constraints. The commission’s purpose was to find ways to expand tourism in the state with public and private stakeholders. Since the commission was defunded, Washington became the only state in the nation without a state-funded tourism office.
“We need to expand and promote the tourism opportunities in our state because they are such an important part of our economy. However, when identifying what government should do, I think we can look to the private sector to step up and find a sustainable solution for marketing our state’s tourism industry,” said Braun.
“The tourism industry applauds Sen. Braun for his leadership on the legislation. He recognized that this industry is a critical part of the economy in all parts of the state and that we need to have a statewide program to market our tourism assets. Because of this legislation we will be able to develop a plan for a statewide tourism marketing program,” said Cheryl Kilday, president of the Washington Tourism Alliance board of directors.