Our neighborhood will have a strong voice at the table when a new tourism group gathers. Governor Jay Inslee announced the appointment of nine members to the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board. One of them is Cynthia Verge, director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Board members 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.
A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.
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