OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced that it has joined the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA), the state's primary tourism marketing and advocacy partnership.
Phil Anderson, WDFW director, said the move will enable the Department to participate with tourism-oriented businesses, visitor bureaus, local governments, and other organizations in promoting Washington as a major vacation destination.
"The department is committed to supporting the people and communities whose livelihoods and economic vitality depend on a strong recreation-based tourism industry," said Anderson. "Joining the alliance will help us build new partnerships to encourage tourists to fish, hunt, watch wildlife and enjoy our beautiful natural environment."
WDFW is one of the first state agencies to join the WTA, which was created in 2011 when the deep economic recession forced state lawmakers to close the state tourism office and eliminate funding for tourism promotion. The group has about 400 members.
The department's decision reflects the critical role of tourism across the state, many of whose residents and businesses rely on dollars generated by anglers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts whose activities are supported by WDFW's resource management.
Spending by fishers, hunters, and wildlife watchers generates more than $4.5 billion annually for the state's economy and supports about 60,000 jobs, according to recent figures compiled by WDFW.
"There is a clear connection between the Washington Tourism Alliance's efforts to promote travel, and our work to provide sustainable fishing, hunting and other recreational opportunities," said Anderson.
"WDFW's decision to formally join the WTA indicates a positive trend," said Louise Stanton-Masten, WTA Executive Director, noting the presence of counties, cities, chambers of commerce, visitor and convention bureaus and numerous businesses among WTA members. "WTA members benefit from Washington's fishers, hunters and recreationists, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife's membership enhances the connection we are making with these groups in the state and beyond."
The WTA achieved a significant milestone recently in working with state government. The State Legislature and Governor Inslee recently recognized the role of the WTA by providing some $1 million in the 2013-15 state operating budget to support the WTA website, visitor guide and other marketing efforts. Inslee also gave the keynote address in support of state tourism promotion at WTA's annual tourism summit in March.
"WTA membership holds distinct advantages for members" said Stanton-Masten. "We expect that the department, like other members, will benefit from WTA's marketing products, such as the newly updated website, www.experiencewa.com, the 2014 Official State Visitors Guide, and the VisitWA mobile app."
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The WTA is a 501[c]6 organization with a mission to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well-being of the Washington tourism industry. The WTA was established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit www.watourismalliance.com to learn more.
About the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
WDFW is Washington state government's principal steward of fish and wildlife resources. Its mission is to preserve, protect and perpetuate Washington's fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities for Washington residents and visitors. To learn more, visit wdfw.wa.gov.