Tourism bureau gets new director

EVERETT – Amy Spain, who has worked at the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau for almost nine years, is now in charge of efforts to boost the county’s visitor industry.

The tourism bureau’s board of directors recently chose Spain, who becomes only the second director in the nonprofit agency’s history. She succeeds Sandy Ward, who left in April to become marketing director for Everett’s Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour.

Spain expects few changes in the immediate future at the tourism bureau, which is supported in part by the county’s hotel and motel tax revenue.

“Our bureau is on a calendar year for both our budget and marketing plan,” said Spain, who helped develop both for this year. “I’m fully committed to those.”

Spain, 46, previously was the bureau’s group sales executive, a position she hopes to hire someone for in the coming weeks. The resident of north King County began working for Ward in fall 1996, less than a year after the agency opened.

Before that, Spain spent years working mostly in hotels and marketing positions. Raised in Arizona, she took her first job at a hotel in 1984.

“I think she’ll be great. She’s been in this industry most of her life, she knows Snohomish County and has been here the past 81/2 years,” Ward said.

Last year, local tourism grew by 5 percent, with visitor-related spending reaching $608 million across the county, according to the bureau’s figures. So far this year, most hotels and motels have reported better business, with occupancy rates up by about 6 percent over last year.

While the summer months traditionally are the busiest for the tourism trade, Spain said the bureau is looking toward fall. That’s when the new Future of Flight at Paine Field and two large hotels, including the newly renovated Holiday Inn in Everett, plan to open.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or

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