OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A bill that would allow the private sector to fund statewide tourism marketing in Washington is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk.
House Bill 2229 passed unanimously in the Senate Thursday. The House passed the measure in February.
Money to support tourism marketing and promotion would come from the tourism industry in five key areas: lodging; food service; attractions and entertainment; retail; and transportation, under the measure.
In an effort to cut the budget in 2011, the Legislature did away with the state tourism office.
Tourism is one of the state's largest industries, employing nearly 155,000 people, according to the Washington Tourism Alliance, which formed after the state tourism office closed. The group's preliminary numbers from 2012 to 2013 indicate that while tourism improved slightly in 2013, the rate of growth has slowed.