Clallam renews contract with tourism bureau

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has renewed a contract with the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau to promote year-round tourism.

The three commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a $490,000 personal services agreement with the nonprofit sales, marketing and public relations organization.

The one-year contract was recommended by the Clallam County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Funding for the agreement comes from a 90-percent share of the county’s “heads in beds” tax on overnight stays at motels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds and other lodging establishments in unincorporated areas.

The visitor bureau will use the money to market Clallam County as a destination through advertising, public relations, a new website, social media, tours, market research, brochures and trade shows, Executive Director Marsha Massey said in a Tuesday interview.

The bureau also awards quarterly grants for events and tourism projects that focus on the shoulder seasons in the spring and autumn, Massey said.

Clallam County awarded $470,000 to the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau last year.

“We typically get an annual report from the visitor bureau taking about the various promotional efforts that they’re engaged in and a review of what that has meant in terms of visitorship,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said in a Jan. 2 work session.

Lodging tax revenue stays in the municipality where it was generated.

Since the visitor bureau leads a regional marketing effort, it works cooperatively with other municipalities to “broadly market the Olympic Peninsula as a destination,” Massey said.

Joint meeting

Meanwhile, the Clallam County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee will host a joint meeting with the Port Angeles and Sequim lodging tax committees Thursday to discuss how the panels can work together better.

Forks does not have a lodging tax advisory committee but a Forks representative has been invited, Massey said.

The joint meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Room 160 at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

Ozias, who convened the joint meeting, thanked Massey for agreeing to “set the stage” by discussing trends that will impact tourism.

Massey on Tuesday said countywide lodging tax revenue was up about 14 percent over last year. Visitor inquiries were up 8 percent to 10 percent, she added.

The Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau provides administrative support for the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission and is a point of contact for state travel writers, tour operators and film scouts interested in the Olympic Peninsula, according to its website, www.olympic peninsula.org.

EDC contract

In other action from the commissioners’meeting, the board voted 3-0 to approve a one-year, $60,000 contract with the Clallam County Economic Development Corp.

Ozias had raised concerns last month that the all-male EDC board of directors lacked gender diversity.

The EDC board agreed to create a five-person diversity committee that will consist of three women and two men to recruit board members with more diverse backgrounds.

Commissioners on Jan. 2 said they were satisfied with the diversity efforts.

Funding for the one-year contracts with the EDC and Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau were included in the 2018 Clallam County budget.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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