Federal Way lodging tax targets marketing and tourism

The 2012 United States Olympic Diving Trials was held in June at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. About 120 of the nation
The 2012 United States Olympic Diving Trials was held in June at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. About 120 of the nation's best divers competed for a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee’s (LTAC) work plan and budget for 2013-14 was presented to the Federal Way City Council during the council’s Dec. 4 meeting.

The work plan and budget shifted focus to generate more advertising and marketing opportunities for the city, according to Patrick Doherty, the city’s director of economic development.

“Advertising had been reduced quite drastically in the last biennium,” Doherty said. “$15,000 had been in there, which barely covered the advertising in the state’s visitor guide, which we do every year, and didn’t allow much more beyond that. So, without pinpointing any specific opportunities at this point, this is sort of a gross level of budgeting, (the LTAC) proposes $25,000.”

Doherty said the LTAC also wanted to slightly increase the marketing and design services budget, as part of that overall increase for advertising. Another area the LTAC wants to improve is the city’s tourism website, Doherty said.

“For the past several years, we’ve only contributed the monthly maintenance fee, which is about $250, yielding $3,000 (a year),” he said. “In our intention to push out more information and make more apps available that promote tourism in Federal Way via the Internet versus printing so much, we need to do more work with our website. The recommendation is for a $10,000 expenditure in the coming year, and $5,000 the following year.”

Doherty said the LTAC plans to set aside approximately $40,000 a year over the next two bienniums, in order to attract high profile diving events like the NCAA championships and USA Diving trials again.

Doherty said the LTAC recommended setting aside $68,000 during the next biennium to help fund events like Buds and Blooms, the Han Woo-Ri festival, and the sand sculpture competition. Another fund that would see a slight increase in the coming budget, Doherty said, was the Tourism Enhancement Grant — from $40,000 to $45,000.

Councilwoman Susan Honda asked if any kind of partnership opportunities had been explored with the Tacoma Visitors Bureau, with councilwoman Jeanne Burbidge (who represents the council on the LTAC) saying it had been an idea that had been floated in previous years, and that re-exploring the issue would be welcomed.

The LTAC meets monthly, on the second Wednesday of every month. Meetings are open to the public.


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