Whidbey, Camano chamber luncheon focuses on tourism

Sherrye Wyatt gives a tourism update at the Freeland Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Sherrye Wyatt of Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism was the featured speaker at the Freeland Chamber of Commerce’s business luncheon Tuesday.

More than 35 people listened as Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism gave an update of her agency’s efforts.

Wyatt said that tourism is a important economic factor not only for the island but the state.

“We’re the fourth largest industry in the state,” she said.

Overall, she said the lodging tax revenue, which is the revenue base the agency is funded by, has gone up year after year. Lodging tax collection in Island County went up 2.7 percent in the past year, Wyatt said.

Other good news that she shared is that restaurants are the top winners in the tourism game on the island with 29.6 percent of the tourism dollars spent on the island.

Besides providing travel tips to island visitors, Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism is also the island’s tourism industry’s voice on the regional and national level.

Wyatt said Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism represents the island with the state tourism alliance.

The agency also works with travel writers and other media to showcase the island in regional and national media. Most recently, she has been working with a group who will be scouting the island for locations for film shoots.

The luncheon is held every third Tuesday of the month and features speaker on a topic relevant to local business.

Besides networking, lunch and information, the Freeland Chamber of Commerce names a business of the month.

This month, Good Cheer was honored as the business of the month. Executive Director Kathy McLaughlin McCabe accepted the award on behalf of the non-profit.