Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Tourism Luncheon, Japan
July 25, 2002

Welcome, and thank you for joining us here today. And thank you for your support of the Washington State tourism industry. I’d like to talk about our state for a few minutes, then we have a video we’d like to share with you. I always enjoy talking about our state. It’s even more fun when there are people around to listen!

Tourism is a very significant and dynamic industry in Washington State—a $3.2 billion industry that supports 156,000 jobs. These jobs are in all parts of the state, in many different industries. It’s especially appropriate that I am here in Tokyo talking about Washington tourism—Japan is our number one overseas source of tourism.

People visit Washington for many reasons. Our state offers a wide variety of uniquely interesting things to see and do. I’m one of those lucky people—I really like my job. And one of the things I like best about what I do is that I get to travel throughout the state. That means I spend a significant amount of time meeting interesting people and visiting interesting places. It’s a great job!

We often hear from visitors to our state that it’s one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We agree. The spectacular scenery is a major attraction. Our state’s natural beauty and geography also mean an abundance of recreational activities. These include salmon fishing and clam digging, white water rafting and mountain climbing, biking and windsurfing, water-skiing and snow skiing, hiking through picturesque parks and running along lakeside jogging paths. For the less athletically inclined, try wine tasting at one of our internationally recognized wineries, or a quiet walk along some of the many miles of beautiful, unspoiled ocean beaches. The diverse Washington landscape features fertile agricultural valleys, rugged mountains, alpine forests, rich wine country and vast ocean beaches. Visitors are always telling us we should consider ourselves fortunate. We do.

Besides the natural beauty of the state, there are both quaint towns and thriving metropolitan areas. Our cities of Seattle and Spokane are known for their diverse visitor activities, and also as a launching point to attractions elsewhere in the state. Seattle offers metropolitan appeal to rival any city in the world, with a renowned art and music scene, contemporary and classic theater, and professional sports, like the Seattle Mariners. Of course, two of our favorite visitors from Japan are the Mariners’ two all-stars, Ichiro and Kazuhiro Sasaki! We’re very grateful that they liked Washington enough to stay!

Many of our visitors are impressed by feats of industry and human ingenuity. Just north of Seattle, a factory tour of Boeing allows you to watch as 747 airplanes are assembled. On the east side of the state, see Grand Coulee Dam, one of the world’s biggest concrete dams and a prime source of hydroelectric power.

Like many residents of Washington, my family and I spend most vacations enjoying our state. We take excursions to to the pristine rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula, ride the ferry up to the San Juan Islands, and spend time in the solemn tranquility of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Our children love playing in the waters of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, and flying kites on the beach. .

Natural beauty, variety, recreation, and very friendly people—this is what you will find when you visit our state. We invite and welcome you to do just that! If you’ve visited us before, we encourage you to return!

I appreciate this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects, and I thank you for your time and consideration.

Access Washington