Fish and Wildlife joins state tourism alliance

Staff reportOctober 27, 2013 

Recognizing how money spent by anglers, hunters and wildlife watchers benefits the state’s economy. In response, the state’s fish and wildlife agency has decided to partner with the Washington Tourism Alliance.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Oct. 15 that it joined the alliance, the state’s primary tourism marketing and advocacy partnership.

Phil Anderson, director of the department, said the move will enable WDFW to participate with tourism-oriented businesses, visitor bureaus, local governments and other organizations in promoting the state as a vacation destination.

“The department is committed to supporting the people and communities whose livelihoods and economic vitality depend on a strong recreation-based tourism industry,” Anderson said in a release. “Joining the alliance will help us build new partnerships to encourage tourists to fish, hunt, watch wildlife and enjoy our beautiful natural environment.”

Spending by outdoors enthusiasts generates more than $4.5 billion a year for the state’s economy and supports about 60,000 jobs, according to recent figures compiled by the department.

The department is one of the first state agencies to join the alliance, created in 2011 when the economic recession forced state lawmakers to close the state tourism office and eliminate funding for tourism promotion. The group now has about 400 members.

“There is a clear connection between the Washington Tourism Alliance’s efforts to promote travel, and our work to provide sustainable fishing, hunting and other recreational opportunities,” Anderson said in the release.

“WDFW’s decision to formally join the WTA indicates a positive trend,” Louise Stanton-Masten, the alliance’s executive director, said in the news release.

“WTA members benefit from Washington’s fishers, hunters and recreationists, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s membership enhances the connection we are making with these groups in the state and beyond,” she added.

The state recently gave the alliance about $1 million from the 2013-15 state operating budget to support the alliance’s website, visitor guide and marketing efforts.

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