State renews tourism marketing efforts with launch of new board

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Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the appointment of nine members to the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board. The members, from a diversity of backgrounds and regions throughout the state, will oversee a new fund to promote tourism in Washington state.

The board appointments are the culmination of a broad stakeholder effort that began in 2011, after post-recession budget cuts eliminated the state tourism department. Washington became the only state without statewide tourism funding despite tourism being one of Washington’s largest industries. The Washington Tourism Alliance reports that Washington’s tourism industry supports more than 177,000 jobs and brings in more than $21 billion annually.

Earlier this year, a bill to renew tourism marketing passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature and was signed by the governor in March.

"Washington has so much to offer visitors and residents alike, from our beautiful mountains, beaches, and trails to vibrant cities, rural communities, and small towns," Inslee said. "I am pleased that we are committing resources to increase awareness of our state’s bounty to people from all over the country and the world. This board will help bring tourism dollars into Washington's small and large communities."

Nominations are provided by the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate. The governor chooses eight members from those recommendations, and and appoints a ninth member at his discretion, as long as they have demonstrated experience in the tourism industry.

Tourism Board appointees:

  • Anthony Anton - President and CEO, Washington Hospitality Association, Pierce County
  • Jodi Kayler - VP of Marketing and Communications, Spokane Sports Commission, Spokane County
  • Robert Lerch - Director of Sales, EAN Holdings Inc. (Enterprise Rent A Car, National, and Alamo), Island County
  • Marsha Massey - Executive Director, Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, Clallam County
  • Vijay Patel - President, A-1 Hospitality Group, Benton County
  • Rob Sendak - Director of External Affairs, Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition, King County
  • Judy Tuohy - Executive Director, Schack Art Center, Snohomish County
  • Tiffany Turner - CEO, Adrift Hotels Inc., Pacific County
  • Cynthia Verge - Executive Director, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Skagit County

The new board will be housed in the state Department of Commerce, and members will serve four-year terms with the option to be re-appointed.

All appointments are effective immediately.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office