Snohomish County’s tourist strategy earns award

Snohomish County’s strategy to boost local tourism won recent plaudits from marketing types.

Meanwhile, the county continues to advance its plans to lure more out-of-towners here and get them to stay longer.

The idea is to capitalize on the county’s main attractions, such as the Boeing Tour, other aerospace facilities, outdoor recreation, gambling, shopping and sports. And, while people are here, tourism boosters hope to convince them to linger and visit places such as the Mukilteo Lighthouse, the Imagine Children’s Museum or the Schack Art Center.

“There are reasons to stay multiple days,” said Amy Spain, executive director for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.

Tourism is the county’s fourth-largest industry and accounts for more than $900 million in estimated annual visitor spending.

The Strategic Tourism Plan that county leaders approved earlier this year won a 2011 Gold MarCom Award for excellence in marketing and communications.

County and industry leaders crafted the plan in 2010. It identifies the county’s biggest tourism strengths and weaknesses. It also seeks to build the county’s brand image, an ongoing effort that is likely to incorporate airplane manufacturing and the area’s natural attractions.

It updates a previous plan that was a decade old, Spain said.

The strategic plan is separate from the tourism promotion area the county put in place earlier this year to generate more overnight stays. The promotion area is expected to generate $1 million per year through a $1-per-night fee on hotels of 50 or more rooms.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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