Deborah Hopkins and Robin Jacobson of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, as well as Carol and Bogdan Kulminski of the Blue Heron B&B on Orcas Island, represented the San Juan Islands during “Tourism Day” in Olympia.
More than 250 tourism industry professionals from around the state participated.
They took part in the “Why Tourism Matters” rally on the Capitol steps. They called on state Sen. Kevin Ranker and state Reps. Jeff Morris and Dave Quall to ask for their support in two areas of concern: maintaining current funding levels for the 2009-11 state tourism office budget; and funding to study expansion options for the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.
The contingent then enjoyed a reception in the Governor’s Mansion. Gov. Christine Gregoire spoke at the reception and declared the day “Tourism Day in Washington State.”
Tourism is Washington’s fourth-largest industry, following software, aerospace, and agriculture/food/wine.
According to Katherine Kertzman, president of the Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations, “Visitors to the state spent $15.7 billion here last year and generated $1 billion in state and local taxes. Tourists support nearly 150,000 jobs and generate $4.3 billion in earnings.”