OLYMPIA – On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the nine members of the new Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board (WTMA). Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association and Washington Hospitality members Vijay Patel, A1 Hospitality, Tiffany Turner, Adrift Hotels, Inc., and Jodi Kayler, Spokane Sports Commission will serve on the new board.
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“It is an honor to be selected for the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board, which will oversee a new fund to promote tourism in Washington state,” said Anton. “It is in the hospitality industry’s nature to find solutions to problems facing our communities. This fund will generate beneficial economic development, a chance to prove the benefits of tourism in rural and economically distressed regions of Washington and generate tax dollars from out-of-state interests to fund other state priorities. I’m proud to be part of this win.”

After the state tourism office closed its doors in 2011 due to a lack of funding, a multi-year effort was launched by stakeholders and the hospitality industry to bring funding back to marketing Washington state to tourists. This year, legislation reinvesting in a statewide tourism marketing program passed unanimously in the Legislature and was signed by the governor in March.

Nominations from the tourism industry for the nine-member board were given to the Governor by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House in the Spring. Each nominee needed to have experience in the tourism industry and represent geographically different areas of the state.

The appointees to the board are:

  • Anthony Anton – President and CEO, Washington Hospitality Association, Pierce County
  • Jodi Kayler – VP of Marketing and Communications, Spokane Sports Commission, Spokane County
  • Robert Lerch – Director of Sales, EAN Holdings Inc. (Enterprise Rent A Car, National, and Alamo), Island County
  • Marsha Massey – Executive Director, Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, Clallam County
  • Vijay Patel – President, A-1 Hospitality Group, Benton County
  • Rob Sendak – Director of External Affairs, Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition, King County
  • Judy Tuohy – Executive Director, Schack Art Center, Snohomish County
  • Tiffany Turner – CEO, Adrift Hotels Inc., Pacific County
  • Cynthia Verge – Executive Director, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Skagit County

The new board members will serve four-year terms effective immediately with the option to be re-appointed at the end of their term. The Washington Tourism Marketing Authority Board will be housed within the state Department of Commerce.