Chamber of Commerce to be Visitors Center
by Jeff Switzer
The Woodinville Chamber of Commerce recently approached the City Council requesting funding for a Tourism/Hospitality Center to help visitors to Woodinville find their way to the sites and shops in the area.
Last week, the chamber became a recognized Visitors Information Center by the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, Tourism Division.
In addition, the Chamber met all of the Department of Transportation's requirements for signage for a visitor's information center and will receive signs directing visitors to the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce.
"I don't think people realize how much weekend activity happens in this building," said Ruth Fusaro, executive director of the chamber.
"We require the staff to meet that need and enhance the information services to the community," Fusaro added.
"There's so much opportunity here, it's almost limitless what you can do, but of course it takes money."
At the Nov. 20 study session, Fusaro presented some numbers and a package to the council outlining projects and the means to evaluate how the city will benefit from funding such a project.
The chamber estimates that 1,330,000 visitors come to Woodinville each year, and with development and enhancement of the city's tourism industry, it projects an increase of 66,500 visitors.
King County estimates visitors spend $187 each as a countywide average; the chamber is estimating a more conservative $75 per person, which would increase the city's retail revenue by $4,987,000 and retail sales tax of $42,393 in 1996.
The chamber is asking the city for $8,000 for 1995 to fund an events calendar for 1996, and $32,000 for 1996.
According to City Manager Joe Meneghini, who has had similar experience with the numbers the chamber is putting forward ,these are very reasonable assumptions.
The chamber has prioritized four projects to inform and draw tourists and visitors to Woodinville.
A shopper's guide is in the works, mapping out and listing the location of Woodinville businesses, where parking is and where the buses run, making it easier to come here and shop.
The chamber hopes to consolidate all community events into an annual events calendar with quarterly updates, including concerts at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
The chamber is also planning a "lure brochure" with tourist sites in the area, and a Welcome to Woodinville book for newcomers to the city, outlining services, businesses, history and events in the city.