Published February 2006

Tourism Bureau to tout
attractions, meeting facilities
at 2006 trade shows

By Kimberly Hilden
SCBJ Assistant Editor

The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau has a busy year ahead as it hits the road to promote the area’s attractions, lodging facilities and meeting venues, said Amy Spain, the bureau’s executive director.

“It’s a very exciting time in Snohomish County,” Spain said, noting the list of tourist and meeting amenities is growing in the county, with the recent addition of the Future of Flight Aviation Center and the adjacent Hilton Garden Inn as well as the new Holiday Inn in Everett.

To get the word out, the bureau, which attended the L.A. Times Travel Show in January aimed at consumers, has a full slate of trade shows scheduled that will focus on a number of target markets, from group tour operators and travel agencies to sports leagues and conference planners, Spain said.

In early February, the bureau will attend the Go West Summit in Utah, a trade show that targets tour operators with international clientele interested in visiting the Western United States. According to event organizers, the summit brings together 180 suppliers and 100 tour operators during its four-day run.

Also in February is the Travel and Adventure Expo in Spokane, a consumer travel trade show that last year attracted close to 2,500 consumers.

In the spring and fall, the bureau will target the sports venue market, attending the National Association of Sports Commissions’ Sports Event Symposium in Kentucky in April and Sports Travel magazine’s Teams 2006 event in October, both of which will draw athletic organizations from around the country.

Past attendees to the Sports Event Symposium have included the American Junior Golf Association, the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association, Pop Warner Little Scholars and the World Softball League, among others.

And Teams 2006 has in the past included the National Council of Youth Sports, the National Amateur Baseball Federation and the International Softball Congress.

Twice, the bureau will head north to Vancouver, British Columbia, to market to travel agencies and tour marketers, Spain said, with the Cruise-A-Thon set for June and a trade show held by the Canadian Inbound Tour Association — Asian Pacific to be held in December.

Why is the bureau attending an event for Canadian-bound travelers? Because many Asian tourists traveling to British Columbia do so via Sea-Tac International Airport, Spain said. They then travel north — through Snohomish County — before arriving at their final destination.

“We are also doing some other shows as well as travel sales presentations to the media in New York and Los Angeles this year,” Spain said.

Not all of the bureau’s promotional activity will be done outside the region, however, as the group plans to attend an event-planning trade show in Seattle that will showcase meeting venues in the greater Seattle area, she added.

Like any good marketer, the bureau tailors its sales pitch to the client, Spain said. For trade shows aimed at sports organizations, the draw will be Snohomish County’s sports venues.

Shows for event planners will require the bureau to focus on the county’s many lodging facilities, meeting spaces and conference venues, from the Everett Events Center, which is capable of holding trade shows, conferences and other large events to specialized meeting facilities such as Lord Hill Farms in Snohomish.

And, when it comes to marketing to the consumer or tour operators, the bureau highlights the many attractions and activities the county has to offer as well as its lodging accommodations, Spain said.

“Travel trends indicate an increased interest in adventure travel,” she said. It’s an interest the county is well-suited to serve with its mountains for climbing and hiking as well as its rivers for rafting.

There also is an increased interest in attractions that offer hands-on interaction, such as Wildfire Glass Studio in Bothell’s Country Village, which features classes in glass blowing and fusing, Spain said.

Then there’s shopping — “the number-one activity of leisure travelers,” she said, rattling off the county’s many retail opportunities, from the expansion of Alderwood and Everett Mall and the new Seattle Premium Outlets at Tulalip’s Quil Ceda Village to the specialty gift shops found in downtown Edmonds and Snohomish.

Besides all that Snohomish County has to offer, Spain has no problem piggybacking on the recognition that Seattle has garnered as a vacation destination, and she is quick to point out to trade-show attendees the county’s proximity to the Emerald City — and its affordability.

“We market ourselves as being close to Seattle but at half the price,” she said.

Back to the top/February 2006 Main Menu


© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA