Speakers to talk tourism in Clinton

Tourism is a major economic factor in Washington, especially on South Whidbey where bed-and-breakfasts and specialty shops try to survive on the visitors’ dime more than anywhere else in the area.

Tourism is a major economic factor in Washington, especially on South Whidbey where bed-and-breakfasts and specialty shops try to survive on the visitors’ dime more than anywhere else in the area.

The Langley Chamber of Commerce and the Island County Economic Development Council have joined forces to bring two top speakers to those who make a living in the tourism sector.

Marsha Massey, the newly appointed interim state tourism director, and Larry Williams, assistant director of the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development are coming to Clinton this Wednesday.

They’ll speak from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Whidbey Institute at 6449 Old Pietila Road in Clinton.

Massay will talk about Gov. Christine Gregoire’s plan to support the local tourism industry, said Nancy Rowan, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism is a major sector of Washington’s economy and, as such, is an important part of the governor’s plans for the future of the state.

Gregoire recently announced a number of measures to push the tourism industry in Washington and said last week that she wants to quadruple the state’s tourism promotion budget.

The governor has proposed $12 million in public and private financing, plus $875,000 on early advertising, aimed at getting visitors to the

2010 Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia to visit Washington.

Sharon Hart, executive director of the ICEDC said the legislature has reinvented the role for the state tourism director and their relationship with the hotel/motel associations.

“We hope that our local small independent entrepreneurs can place their business in the scheme that is developing for the entire state as there are a number of opportunities available for marketing and publicity,” she said.

Wednesday’s talk will be insightful, organizers said.

“Marsha Massey from Washington State Department of Tourism has many years of experience in the travel and tourism industries prior to her appointment as the interim state tourism director,” Rowan said.

“She has information on state tourism programs to share with us and we can introduce her to the unique lodging situations we deal with on the south end of the island,” Rowan added.

Williams will answer questions about state assistance on business efforts and he will also discuss Washington’s economy.

“Larry is placing an emphasis on our business export products, such as those made by our south island’s largest employer, Nichols Brothers, in international marketplace discussions and trade missions with the governor,” Hart explained.

Rowan agreed.

“While a great deal of discussion has been taking place on the future of our South Whidbey economy and local sustainability, the bigger statewide perspective can also be an important component,” Rowan said. “Williams will shed light on plans to support local businesses owners from the state level.”

Cost of the luncheon is $20 per person. Please RSVP to

360-678-6889

The luncheon is a “chef’s choice” and executive chef Kristian Bentsen will choose from his personal favorites.

“Whidbey Institute is a wonderful resource to both local residents and tourists,” Rowan said. “We are happy to have this beautiful island setting as our venue and to introduce their new catering services.”

Michaela Marx Wheatley can be reached at 221-5300 or mmarxwheatley@southwhidbey.com.

More in Business

Healing Circles offers sanctuary and support

The people sitting in a circle of comfortable chairs may talk about… Continue reading

Training slated at mussel rafts

Penn Cove Shellfish employees will participate in oil spill training Friday near… Continue reading

SICBA holds home tour

Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association will hold its 12th annual SICBA Home Tour… Continue reading

Gemkow now McClure Custom Homes

Gemkow Construction has changed its name to McClure Custom Homes, LLC nearly… Continue reading

Photographer wins Whidbey Telecom’s cover art contest

Whidbey Telecom has announced the winner of its 2018-19 Directory Cover Art… Continue reading

Freeland sculpture park open to public Aug. 25, 26

‘Liberating the image within’ sparks Hank Nelson’s creative vision

Mother-daughter duo bringing corners of the world to Whidbey

Fiona and Francesca Coenen-Winer sell pieces from near and far

Island Senior Resources aims to raise $10k Aug. 1

Growing demand for essential services strains nonprofit agency

Habitat taking over Saratoga Community Housing

After witnessing Saratoga Community Housing’s declining effectiveness, Habitat for Humanity of Island… Continue reading

Celebrate everything rabbit-related during Bunny Daze, March 26-31

Spring has sprung, and so have the bunnies. Celebrate the furry creatures… Continue reading

Schools foundation holding Dine Out Wednesdays

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is holding its March Dine Out Wednesdays… Continue reading

Langley chocolatier Mona Newbauer offers a wide variety of gourmet chocolates in her shop, Sweet Mona’s. Some of those chocolates will make their way to Coupeville Saturday for the annual Chocolate Walk. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times
Chocolate Walk tickets selling quickly

A handful of tickets remain available for Saturday’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. For… Continue reading