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Board sets strategic goals for Washington Tourism

The Washington Tourism Development Authority has developed a set of short- and long-term goals for the city’s tourism office for the next three to five years.

The new goals were the result of a strategic planning session at the Washington-Warren Airport on Dec. 19, during which board members developed a set of goals that build on some things the WTDA is already doing and add new visions for the outward face of Washington. The board reviewed the new goals Monday during its monthly meeting.

“To be able to look at that and say, ‘There’s what the TDA is going to be working on for the next five years’ is a real step forward,” said WTDA Board Chairman Keith Hudson. “It gives some straight direction, a purpose and a place to go.”

“Strategic planning is always a good idea for any organization,” WTDA Executive Director Erin Ruyle added. “It serves as a roadmap to guide what you are doing and is something that I think will constantly evolve and change.”

Short-term objectives, typically with a two-year timeline, include:

  • Adding new tourism events that attract visitors and enhance economic vitality, developing multi-day events and recreational activities and enhancing and growing existing events.
  • Attracting and enhancing additional sporting, recreational, boating and water-based activities supportive of tourism goals, including partnering with sporting clubs and business owners, as well as creating maps and other promotional materials for visitors.
  • Improving the attractiveness and cleanliness of tourism sites in the downtown and waterfront areas and identifying partners to create a formal beautification program.
  • Enhancing marketing and promotional activities of the WTDA by improving infrastructure and developing additional media strategies.
  • Improving signage and other aspects of key entry corridors to the city to attract travelers to Washington, focusing on billboards, DOT signs and more signage pointing to what’s downtown.

In the long term, the board laid out a number of multifaceted goals to be implemented within the next three to five years:

  • Expanding the full visitor experience to ensure that their experiences meet expectations and lead to return visits, also educating and engaging the community to be more tourism focused.
  • Identifying, developing and cultivating expanded opportunities for arts, cultural events and tourism that identifies with Washington’s history and culture.

“I think we set some good goals,” Ruyle said. “I think some of them fall outside of just the TDA’s parameter alone. Some of them will require collaboration with the city and other organizations to accomplish.”

In addition to the new goals, the board discussed a proposed change in the WTDA’s mission statement, which has yet to be finalized. Also on the agenda during Monday’s meeting were proposed changes to the interlocal agreement that governs the relationship between the City of Washington and the WTDA.

“The whole intent of changing the document was to be able to better identify the roles and responsibilities of the TDA, the city and the executive director in the whole cycle of management of the TDA,” Hudson said of the changes.

While the WTDA Board approved the revised agreement with some changes, Washington’s City Attorney is currently reviewing the document. Any changes from the city would then be presented back to the WTDA for approval before going before the full Washington City Council to make the revised agreement official.

 

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