Chamber to seek more tourism advertising funds
The chamber of commerce is after more advertising money with which to fund an ad campaign to boost sagging tourism numbers.
Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Peggy Nevsimal appeared before the Regional Board of Mayors at their last meeting and appealed for added help in drawing visitors to the area.
Nevsimal told mayors that tourism was down at Grand Coulee Dam last year by about 48,000 visitors, or 10 percent. She reported that lodging establishments remain about 70 percent vacant in the winter and 20 percent empty during the summer months.
While the chamber of commerce is scheduled to receive about $48,000 this year from hotel/motel tax money from Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee and Electric City, Nevsimal stated that the chamber needs additional funding if it is to attract more visitors from the west side of the state at a time when the Bureau of Reclamation will launch the first new laser show in 25 years.
The chamber manager said the Seattle area, where most of the area’s visitors come from, is one of the top 10 markets in the country and funding has been so short that an aggressive media buy to attract visitors has been impossible.
She said additional funds would enable the chamber to purchase television and radio advertising and develop a complete media buy on the west side of the state.
Of the current $48,000 funding for the chamber, $15,000 comes from Coulee Dam, $9,941 from Grand Coulee and $23,100 from Electric City.
The three communities gain hotel/motel tax monies from their motels and campgrounds.
Collectively, the three communities hold in reserve over $400,000 of hotel/motel tax money for tourism promotion.
The chamber plans to visit the three city councils to seek additional funding for media buys and to support its efforts to fully fund its Festival of America July 4 celebration.
Nevsimal also reported that in the past two years chamber membership has grown 42 percent, the number of local businesses that have joined the chamber is up 30 percent and the total revenue gained through the membership is up 49 percent.
The chamber puts on the Triple Fish Challenge, Colorama, the Saturday Market, the Festival of America (July 4), Harvest Festival and the Vintners & Brewers Auction, during the course of the year.