CEO Corner: July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Main News Photo

Tourism in Skagit County

In conjunction with area Chambers, hoteliers, and other supporters, EDASC is working to bring the Skagit Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) to reality. This is an opportunity for Skagit to shape our tourism destiny in a meaningful way, especially as Washington has been for several years the only state to not have a statewide tourism promotion agency. Tourism, a huge revenue generator for the State of Washington, and a meaningful one for Skagit County as well, could bring us more prosperity and community amenities, as increasing revenue from visitors supports our local economy and families.

Washington state legislation permits area lodging businesses (with 40+ rooms) to petition the county to create the TPA, which will enable the lodging businesses to collect a $2 per night fee. This fee is to be used to promote the area as a tourism destination nationally and globally. What are the benefits of increased tourism in Skagit County? Increased revenues from more visitors will support more hotels, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, and events here, employing local people and increasing amenities for all residents to enjoy. In addition, more happy visitors will raise more awareness of Skagit County as a prime location for new businesses both small and not-so-small. This increased prosperity will allow us more latitude in determining the shape and character of our business community.

Once the County Commissioners enact the TPA and the Inter-local Agreement is signed, it will take a few months (as set in the RCWs) for the dollars to begin to flow back into our county. During that time, we will all be working on the strategic plan for tourism development for Skagit County. Many rural areas of our country have enjoyed great success in capitalizing on visitors enjoying local agricultural products, art, crafts, scenic beauty, and other attractions, while preserving that which drew them there in the first place. We have some wonderful models to follow in this effort, and with careful research and strategy, we can achieve our tourism and community goals in ways that are consistent with Skagit County’s values and character. We look forward to your participation in this effort!

- John Sternlicht, CEO

Category: Economic Development, Tourism