Gov. Jay Inslee signs bill to boost tourism

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill to allow the private sector to fund statewide tourism marketing in Washington state.

House Bill 2229 was signed by Inslee Thursday. It passed the Legislature earlier this month.

Money to support tourism marketing and promotion would come from the tourism industry in five key areas: lodging; food service; attractions and entertainment; retail; and transportation.

In an effort to cut the budget in 2011, the Legislature did away with the state tourism office.

Tourism is one of the state’s largest industries, employing nearly 155,000 people, according to the Washington Tourism Alliance, which formed after the state tourism office closed. The group’s preliminary numbers from 2012 to 2013 indicate that while tourism improved slightly in 2013, the rate of growth has slowed.

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