Travel is making memories.
Travel is essential to the regional economy.
Travel is a job creator.
No matter how you complete the sentence, the bottom line message is that travel is vital to our community and our lives, and it has meaning for everyone. To me, travel is having something to look forward to. Travel is a unique experience. This week we celebrate “National Tourism and Travel Week.” This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate what travel means to you. And there is no better time than now to acknowledge the incredible contributions our travel and tourism related businesses here in Gig Harbor make to strengthen our economy.
The theme for the weeklong, nationwide celebration is “Travel is __________.” This allows each person to customize the impact of the U.S. travel industry on the fabric of America. Destinations, such as Gig Harbor, are defining travel as how it contributes to our local economies, businesses and lives. In 2014, Pierce County experienced the third consecutive year of strong growth in travel spending and related travel impacts. We saw more than $1.02 billion dollars in spending in Pierce County in travel spending, according to Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, and we welcomed 10.8 million visitors. More than 11,160 jobs were generated by travel spending.
We encourage you to be a guest in your own community and discover the hidden gems that are Gig Harbor. Take part in the Street Scramble on May 23 at Skansie Brothers Park and find unseen treasures that you may have never known about. And then pass this knowledge onto your friends and family. Check out other events and activities in town like our weekly concerts and the new Thursday Waterfront Farmers Market. Shop Local. Invite people to town. Write a guest column for our local newspaper about the value of and your experiences with tourism and hospitality Gig Harbor. Volunteer at one of our visitor centers — we have two: the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on Judson Street and the Gig Harbor Visitor Center at the historic Skansie House along the waterfront. Contact a member of Congress or send a letter asking lawmakers to support pro-travel policies that grow our industry or thank them if they already supported these policies.
Arriving in your mailbox next week will be the 2015-16 edition of the Official Gig Harbor Visitor Guide. This is a great tool for tourism — pass it on to an out-of-town friend. Come and pick up a supply for an incoming group or family event. They are available at City Hall. Call 253.853.3554 to arrange for pick-up of large quantities.
Or just follow along on Twitter, via @gigharborguide and #GigHarbor and on Facebook/ gigharborguide.com. Keep posting pictures and sharing the word about what a special place Gig Harbor is to visit.
After all, travel, even local travel, is fun!