OLYMPIA - Wildlife-based tourism is big business in Washington and a new website just launched by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers pointers to civic and business leaders wishing to develop nature tourism in their communities.
The website, which can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/tourism/index.htm, offers:
- Nature tourist demographic information
- A process for creating a community nature tourism site or event, including assessing community features, planning and evaluating success
- Resources for nature tourism businesses
Besides the website, WDFW and the state Office of Community, Trade and Economic Development are planning a September conference to promote wildlife-viewing tourism.
That event, intended for community leaders, economic development directors and nonprofit conservation organization representatives, is aimed at developing a strategic plan to promote wildlife-viewing tourism in Washington. The conference is an outgrowth of state legislation passed earlier this year.
According to a national survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife viewers, fishers and hunters spent more than $2.18 billion in Washington in 2001.