Unexpectedly, longtime county tourism director is departing

Amy Spain has led the marketing agency since 2005 and has worked there since 1996.

Amy Spain

Amy Spain

SNOHOMISH — Amy Spain, who has led Snohomish County’s tourism marketing initiatives since 2005, plans to leave her post as director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.

Spain, who joined the bureau in 1996 as group sales executive, recently announced her plans on LinkedIn, the social media career website.

“After 23 years with the tourism bureau, it’s time I find my joy elsewhere,” Spain wrote on LinkedIn. She added that her departure marks the end of “this part of a career in which I was given the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, learned and shared, guided and followed, and laughed and cried in this wonderful tourism industry.”

There has been no official announcement regarding her plans, but in an email Spain indicated that her last day would be Aug. 2. She did not provide a reason for leaving.

Snohomish County contracts with the tourism bureau, which is overseen by a board of directors, for tourism marketing and related services.

Sara Blayne, who co-chairs the tourism bureau’s board of directors, said in an email Tuesday that the board is “not prepared to comment at this time. We have a board meeting on Thursday and we will be prepared with a statement on Friday following that meeting.”

Before joining the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, Spain spent years working mostly in hotels and marketing. Raised in Arizona, she took her first job at a hotel in the mid-1980s, according to a 2005 Herald story.

Spain was chosen in 2005 by the tourism bureau’s board to lead the agency, which is supported in part by the county’s hotel and motel tax revenue.

“She put Snohomish County on the map,” Warren Beach, vice president of operations at SMJ Management, said of Spain. The firm manages hotels in Burlington and the Everett area and this month announced plans to build two Marriott-brand hotels near Paine Field’s new passenger terminal. The pair will be located in the 11400 block of Airport Road, on the east side of the road near 112th Street SW.

“Her passion for the tourism industry is beyond question,” Beach said. “I don’t believe she ever walked into her office and saw it as a job — because she has such a passion for this county.”

The agency recently launched the “Seattle NorthCountry True PNW” marketing slogan to help visitors locate the county and introduce them to its diverse attractions.

After aerospace and agriculture, tourism is the county’s third-largest industry, according to a study by Dean Runyon Associates, a tourism research firm. Tourism and related fields employ 11,000 people, and generate $24 million in local taxes and $60 million in state taxes.

In 2017, the county generated about $2 billion from tourism and outdoor recreation, officials have said.

Spain “worked very hard to advance tourism,” said Snohomish County Councilman Terry Ryan, who has chaired the council’s lodging tax committee for six years.

“She’a a wealth of information and readily shares that information with everyone.”

In her farewell message on LinkedIn, Spain said: “I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished in my career and what I’ve helped to create in Snohomish County and its communities.

“I don’t know what lies before me but I look forward to another great adventure after some much needed rest and time to dream,” she said.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

The first flight for United Airlines servicing Paine Field taxis to the gate on March 31, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Come October, United Airlines will discontinue flights at Paine Field

The airline is one of two commercial carriers at the Everett airport. United flies to Denver.

Community leaders and officials break ground at the Port of Everett's Norton Terminal at the former Kimberly-Clark mill site along the waterfront Thursday morning in Everett on July 15, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Legacy of pollution makes Everett port project ‘challenging’

The former Kimberly-Clark mill site is nearing the end of a complex cleanup, part of a $36 million terminal project.

sandwich with ham, tomatoes, lettuce and toast isolated on white background, healthy breakfast, lunch
You voted: The best darn sandwich in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people have their favorites

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Seattle. Washington state sued Johnson & Johnson on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, claiming the company was negligent when it used deceptive marketing to say the drugs were effective for treating pain and were unlikely to cause addiction. The lawsuit filed Thursday says the company that supplies raw materials used to make opiates drove the pharmaceutical industry to recklessly expand the production of the drugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington AG rejects opioids settlement, wants trial

The proposal would pay Washington about $527.5 million over 18 years if cities and counties opt in.

This photo provided by Blue Origin,   Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, exits the  Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule after it parachuted safely down to the launch area with passengers Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.  (Blue Origin via AP)
Blue Origin’s Bezos reaches space on 1st passenger flight

The Amazon founder is the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft.

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2020 file photo, a motorcyclist cruises past the Renton, Wash., Boeing plant where 737's are built. Boeing is temporarily lowering its delivery target for the 787 Dreamliner after discovering additional work that will need to be performed on the aircraft. The company said Tuesday, July 13, 2021, that the 787 production rate will temporarily be lower than five per month and will gradually return to that rate. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, File)
Boeing cuts production on the 787 to address a new flaw

The problem is on the forward pressure bulkhead, which keeps the plane’s interior pressurized.

State makes low interest loans available to small businesses

The state Department of Commerce is partnering with financial institutions and community-based organizations.

Commercial center taking shape off Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

A bowling alley? Maybe. Potential tenants are showing interest and locals have their own wish list.

Wil Peterson is a cashier at Fred Meyer in Everett, but won't receive the temporary $4 per hour hazard pay increase that many grocery workers in unincorporated Snohomish County will receive.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Geography defines who gets grocery hazard pay — and who doesn’t

The county required at least eight grocery stores to temporarily boost pay in unincorporated areas.

Jessica Ward runs a stacker at Hampton Mill on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. The mill is asking for more trees from Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Hampton Lumber makes big purchase for small-town Darrington

The town’s largest employer acquired 145,000 acres of timber land from Weyerhaeuser.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Arlington and Marysville trade open space for local jobs

Light-industrial development is transforming the farms and fields where the two cities join.

In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, the French-style inspired main building of the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is seen in Woodinville, Wash. Washington, which now boasts more than 1,000 wineries in the state, has become a force in the wine industry. Washington is the second-largest producer of premium wines in the United States, trailing only California. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Washington wine giant Ste. Michelle sold for $1.2 billion

The seller, the tobacco company Altria, will shift its focus to noncombustible nicotine products.