Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
December 8, 2004
Thank you, Juli, for that kind introduction.
I wanted to come by this afternoon in person to thank all of you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to promoting Washington’s communities and many attractions.
The tourism industry in Washington state continues to be a key contributor to our state’s economy.
This year, travelers spent an estimated $11.5 billion in Washington, a 6 percent increase over 2003.
In 2004, state travel tax revenue generated about $610 million. Local travel taxes brought in an estimated $220 million to support local communities.
Compared to other major industries in the state, the travel industry has demonstrated continuous and stable growth.
This industry supports more than 150,000 jobs directly and indirectly located in all parts of the state.
I was very pleased to learn that, for the first time, a statewide strategic direction for tourism in our state has been developed.
Your vision and professional implementation of this blueprint will help us be even more successful in attracting visitors to Washington.
As an industry, you have been innovative and entrepreneurial in your work.
I am proud that we are the first state in the country to use the Internet to expand our market reach.
More than 2 million potential travelers visited the state’s Web site this year, an increase of 50 percent over the previous fiscal year.
There is huge potential to use the Internet to suggest and customize short trips within Washington – whether for a visitor staying at a Seattle or for a Washington family interested in weekend adventures.
We’ve gotten our message out in other significant forums as well.
Twenty-five Washington communities have been featured on Northwest Backroads – a direct result of the Tourism Office’s partnership with BELO Broadcasting Company and your cooperative marketing partnerships.
More than $58 million was generated in free editorial coverage that focused on Washington state as a travel destination.
A diversity print advertising campaign that ran in 9 different magazines and in a British Columbia newspaper reached more than 7 million consumers during its annual run.
For every $1 spent on the ad campaign, the state’s investment return was $39 in visitor spending and $2.80 in tax revenue generated.
There have been some excellent region- or sector-specific campaigns as well.
The “See Washington First” campaign was developed to focus on specific regions of the state.
An Agency Assistance Team was created to participate in marketing the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration.
Overseas, we conducted three tourism seminars in conjunction with our trade missions, promoting Washington in France, Mexico, South Korea and Japan.
And we recently convened a 2010 Olympics Task Force to boost state tourism during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC.
The success we have seen is a by-product of the spirit of collaboration that exists in this industry.
The state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development joined together with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a plan promoting wildlife viewing.
Wine producers and vintners worked closely with local groups to market “Wine Country Tourism.”
We have seen great advances in Tribal tourism and agricultural tourism.
And Washington State Tourism has partnered with the Department of Transportation to launch a new scenic byways site on
This is an impressive list of projects and accomplishments!
And the work being done is a testament to you - the dedicated, creative group of professionals involved in the tourism industry.
This is a true partnership between state and local government, private businesses and organizations to promote Washington state, grow our economy and create jobs.
As my time as governor draws to a close, I know you will all maintain this comprehensive effort to bring even more visitors to our state and encourage more Washingtonians to travel within and explore our fantastic state.
I am confident the tourism industry will continue to thrive as you implement your statewide strategic blueprint.
I am looking forward to spending even more time as a tourist in Washington after I leave office!
I have had many opportunities to travel all over the state as governor, but usually our stays are limited as we move from one event or meeting to the next.
It will be great to spend more time in each place as Mona, Emily, Dylan, Madeline and I take family vacations and weekend trips to our state’s many spectacular destinations.
Thank you again for all you have done to promote Washington.
Keep up the great work!