By Chris Hendrickson, Contributing Writer
Snohomish County Tourism Board Executive Director Amy Spain presented her annual report to Monroe City Council last week. The Snohomish County Tourism Board is a nonprofit agency contracted by Snohomish County to facilitate and promote tourism throughout Snohomish County.
“My chief message to city councils throughout Snohomish County is that tourism is economic development,” said Spain. “Visitors spent almost 18 billion dollars in 2013, and that accounted for over a billion dollars of tax revenues.”
Spain shared that, as its third largest industry, tourism has a significant economic impact on Snohomish County, with over 10,000 people employed in tourism-related jobs. During 2011 and 2012, the tourism board embarked on an extensive panel of research that was utilized to develop a new brand platform.
New marketing efforts now being implemented are based on a brand platform statement of “open up” which was derived from the concept that Snohomish County is “where Seattle gets outside and opportunities open up.”
The phrase “open up” was developed to be an all-inclusive idea meant to invite visitors to come and “open up” to any number of activities which are available in Snohomish County including outdoor recreation, shopping, hiking and fine dining.
Snohomish County municipalities are being encouraged to customize the “open up” theme in their own unique ways.
“Whatever those individual communities and businesses can grab onto with ‘open up’ and make that their own,” said Spain.
A new website has been developed, along with a new logo which features a color palette meant to represent the outdoors. The board is also encouraging communities and businesses to coordinate their language using a strategic vocabulary so that, as they are describing to potential visitors what they have to offer, there is a county-wide commonality.
“The message to the visitor is that there’s a cohesive statement happening,” said Spain.
The vocabulary list features a compilation of adventure-themed terminology, interspersed with soothing words that also depict relaxation.
Spain explained that throughout 2013 the tourism board worked to promote Snohomish County as a place to hold conventions and other group events. They also coordinated with travel writers and worked with other sources of media in an effort to spread the word of county facilities. Additionally, a strong emphasis has been placed on the utilization of different social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The sports market has been a large component of the board’s marketing strategy, with staff specifically dedicated to targeting sports organizations and encouraging them to hold their events in Snohomish County.
“That’s kind of been the sweet spot for Monroe,” said Spain. “We’ve worked very closely with the parks department here in bringing different kinds of events to Monroe.”
Spain will be working with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce to hold a workshop later this year to talk more about branding and how to best implement the new Snohomish County brand strategy.
The tourism board is not a membership organization; they are funded by a portion of the county’s hotel-motel tax income.
For additional information on the Snohomish County Tourism Board, please visit the website at: http://www.snohomish.org/. To review the 2013 Tourism report in its entirety: http://www.snohomish.org/content/uploads/general_content/2013_Annual_Report.pdf.
SGT. RICK DUNN TO BE HONORED IN OLYMPIA
Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer shared that Monroe Police Sgt. Rick Dunn will be honored by the Washington State Office of the Attorney General in May as one of the 2014 recipients of the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor.
Sgt. Dunn, a 20-year veteran of the Monroe Police Department, will travel to Olympia on May 2 to receive the honor, which will be presented to him during a ceremony at the Law Enforcement Memorial Site located at the state capitol. The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor is presented to police officers “who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.”
Sgt. Dunn was awarded the Medal of Courage by Chief Quenzer during a council meeting in February for his life-saving action during a suicide attempt that occurred last summer.
It was June 24, 2013, and Sgt. Dunn responded to a call from a woman who was worried about her roommate. She reported that the man had been recently going through a difficult time and had become very despondent, and she was concerned that he might try to hurt himself. When Sgt. Dunn inquired as to the man’s possible location the woman was unsure, but indicated that he had been receiving treatment for an injury at Valley General Hospital.
Dunn quickly found the woman’s roommate seated on the railroad tracks near 179th Avenue and U.S. 2. Dunn approached the man and tried to talk him into coming off the tracks, but before he knew it, the crossing arm signals came down and the alarm began to sound, indicating that a train was rapidly approaching. Dunn made a split second decision and threw himself at the depressed man, hurling them both away from the railroad tracks.
During the council meeting in February, Dunn thanked all those who played a part in the events of that day, and stated that the man has since sought medical treatment for his depression and is doing a lot better.