State tourism chief to visit Walla Walla

Suzanne Fletcher, who heads the state's new tourism agency, is on a statewide tour to assess needs.

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WALLA WALLA -- The executive director of the state's new tourism agency will make a stop Friday in Walla Walla on a statewide trek to assess tourism needs throughout Washington.

Suzanne Fletcher, director of the Washington Tourism Alliance, will provide an update on the organization's activities and also seek input on issues affecting tourism during a gathering at the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

The two-hour meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public. RSVPs are requested at mdavidson@wallawalla.org .

The Washington Tourism Alliance was formed this year by tourism stakeholder groups from all over the state after the announcement of the closure of the Washington State Tourism office.

Fletcher, a 30-year travel and tourism industry veteran who most recently worked in marketing for Concur Technologies in Redmond, Wash., began as executive director Aug. 1.

The switch moves state tourism promotion from the government sector to the direction of tourism stakeholders, including representatives of key industry segments such as lodging, destination marketing, attractions, restaurants and transportation.

The alliance will procure and administer funds for destination tourism marketing activities across Washington and create and implement a strategic statewide marketing plan, officials say.

Friday's meeting will include an informal discussion about the future of tourism in Washington. Alliance board members will join Fletcher for the event.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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