EVERETT — Judy Tuohy, executive director of the Schack Art Center and an Everett City Council member, was among nine people with tourism experience who were appointed to the new Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The board will oversee a new fund to promote tourism in Washington. Nominations were provided by the speaker of the state House of Representatives and the president of the state Senate. Based on their recommendations, the governor chose eight members and appointed a ninth at his discretion.
The Legislature revived a statewide tourism promotion program this spring. A previous iteration was killed by budget cuts during the Great Recession. Until March, Washington was the only U.S. state without funding for statewide tourism promotion.
In a news release Wednesday, Inslee said he was pleased that resources have been committed to increasing “awareness of our state’s bounty to people from all over the country and the world. This board will help bring tourism dollars into Washington’s small and large communities.”
Board members will serve a four-year term with an option to be re-appointed.
Tuohy joins Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, from Pierce County; Jodi Kayler, vice president of marketing and communications for the Spokane Sports Commission, from Spokane County; Robert Lerch, director of sales for EAN Holdings Inc. (Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National and Alamo), from Island County; Marsha Massey, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, from Clallam County; Vijay Patel, president of A-1 Hospitality, from Benton County; Rob Sendak, director of external affairs for the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition, from King County; Tiffany Turner, CEO of Adrift Hotels Inc., from Pacific County; and Cynthia Verge, executive director of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Tourism is one of Snohomish County’s largest industries. Tourism-related jobs employ nearly 11,000 and generate about $23 million in local taxes and $58 million in state taxes, according to a Snohomish County Tourism summit held this past spring.
The Washington Tourism Alliance reports that the state’s tourism industry supports more than 177,000 jobs and brings in more than $21 billion annually.