8i. Memo

2024 2025 Tourism Marketing Support Program

AGENDA MEMORANDUM                        Item No.          8i 
ACTION ITEM                            Date of Meeting     February 13, 2024 

DATE :     January 24, 2023 
TO:        Stephen P. Metruck, Executive Director 
FROM:    Nick Leonti, Director Tourism Development 
Dave McFadden, Managing Director Economic Development Division 
SUBJECT:  2024/25 Tourism Marketing Support Program Authorization 
Amount of this request:                 $600,000 
Total estimated project cost:            $600,000 

Request Commission authorization of the 2024/25 Tourism marketing grant program (TMSP) and
authority for the Executive Director to approve execution for all related contract agreements for
the 2024/25 selected Tourism Marketing Support Program recipients in an amount not to exceed

The 2024/25 Tourism Marketing Support Program will bring refinements to the long-running
program in order to further Port priorities, create greater equity for applicants, and drive
increased visitation in a responsible way to the region.  For 2024/2025, $600,000 has been
allotted for the program in the budget. The source of funds is the Port property tax levy.
Previously, the program was allotted $200,000 for one year, the updated plan provides $600,000
over two years. 
The Port of Seattle’s co-operative tourism marketing support program boosts the economic value
of tourism across the state. This program has been effective in promoting Washington State and
the use of Port facilities. The program is initially offered up to $10,000 (2:1 match) to non-profit
destination marketing organizations (DMOs), attractions, cities, counties, and chambers of
commerce which can effectively market their destination to non-resident visitors traveling to our
state.   Updates for 2024/25 increase the maximum award to $20,000 to compensate for
increased costs and to bring greater impact from approved programs. 
Throughout 2023, the Tourism Department engaged with current, former and potential TMSP
grant recipients to gather feedback about their experience with the program. In general, TMSP is

Template revised January 10, 2019.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8i                                   Page 2 of 4 
Meeting Date: February 13, 2024 
a very well-received program, but some challenges were identified, especially from smaller
organizations. These obstacles included: 
• Inflation and increased costs have lessened the impact of received funds 
• Short window to execute marketing plans (April-Nov) eliminated shoulder seasons and
limited scope of projects 
• Evaluation scorecard did not clearly reflect Port’s DEI and sustainability priorities 
• Focus on “new” programs as opposed to enhancing existing programs created more work
and lessened impact of successful programs 
• Low match contribution levels allowed for admin of approved projects impacted smaller
organizations’ ability to participate 
• Notification of the program and the application window were short 
The refinements for 2024/25 address these concerns and update the program to meet the needs
of the Port’s tourism partners. 
The grant funds are used for advertising, publicizing, promoting events or conducting research to
attract visitors. Marketing efforts for the Tourism Marketing Support Program include promoting
our natural scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, cultural attractions, online digital marketing
campaigns, promotion of Washington’s growing wine and craft brewery industry, and engaging 
with tour operators and travel media. 
2024/25 will also introduce a second tier of grants at a $10,000 level aimed at smaller, cultural
organizations that may not have the resources to participate in the larger Tier 1 grant program.
The Tier 2 grants will have increased flexibility regarding match requirements and provide
additional informational sessions throughout the application process. 
Two-Tiers of Grants 
Tier 1 - $20,000 maximum 
•       2:1 match requirement 
•       Open to all applicants 
Tier 2 - $10,000 maximum 
•       Designed for small, culturally-focused organizations 
•       2:1 match requirement 
•       50% of actual funds can be staff time/admin 
Applications are reviewed by committee and given a score out of 100pts. All proposed projects
will be evaluated for how they address equitable, sustainable and responsible tourism. As part of
the Port’s efforts to address equity, diversity and inclusion, adjustments to the scoring system
have put even more emphasis on these Port priorities. 
The updated evaluation will be: 

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8i                                   Page 3 of 4 
Meeting Date: February 13, 2024 
Marketing, promotion, and outreach plans include: 
•       Communicating to an ever-growing data base of over 300 different organizations via
email. The data base includes a roster of over 130 cities, chambers, and destination
organizations,  24  cultural  and  ethnic  attractions,  17  outdoor  recreational
organizations and 35 tribal contacts. 
•       Prominent positioning of the grant program application process information, together
with video testimonials from previous recipients, will be available on the Tourism
Development section of the Port’s external website.
•       Conducting two virtual Information Sessions which is open to all registered attendees 
and Q&A sessions to further address any issues. 
•       Speaking at various organization meetings, one-on-one meetings with destination
marketing organizations, chambers, city officials, and nonprofit organizations. 
•       Direct contact via phone and email. Drawing from past emails and our data base of
contacts over the course of the year, calls will continue to be made to potential
applicants encouraging their participation. 
All applicants will be encouraged to draw inspiration for the marketing projects from the
Responsible Travel Handbook that the Port produced in 2023 to act as a foundation for all of
Washington’s tourism industry to increase its positive impact on local communities. 
February 2024 – Application window opens 
Feb/March 2024 – Educational sessions held 
End of March 2024 – Application window closes 
April 2024 – Evaluation Panel Meets/Recipients Selected 
April-June 2024 – Contracts executed and projects begin 
June 2024 – Projects start 
June 2024-Sep. 2025 – Check-ins, support and progress reports 
Dec. 2025 – Final Reports Due (some may be due earlier as per contract) 
Alternative 1 – Do not provide the Tourism Marketing Support Program for 2024/25. 
Cost Implications: $0.
(1)   Reduces specific budget request by $600,000 for 2024/25. 

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 8i                                   Page 4 of 4 
Meeting Date: February 13, 2024 
(1)   Elimination of the program would impact small tourism organizations and industry
partners whose marketing and promotion budgets are limited for reaching out of state
(2)   Because the TMSP program focus is to increase air traffic through SEA International
Airport as a primary gateway for all of Washington state, the cancellation of the
program will negatively affect leisure travel and visitor spending. 
This is not the recommended alternative. 
Alternative 2 – Offer the TMSP Program for 2024/25 
Cost Implications: $600,000 over two years 
(1)   The TMSP program assists and demonstrates the Port of Seattle’s intention to work with
a diverse range of organizations and industry partners. 
(2)   Because the TMSP program requires a two-to-one matching contribution, the $600,000
positively impacts tourism and visitor marketing throughout Washington State with a
minimum of $900,000 in total marketing promotional efforts. In previous years the
actual match fund levels exceeded the two-to-one match requirement. 
(3)   This program will positively affect leisure travel by increasing non-resident visitor
arrivals via SEA International Airport. 
This is the recommended alternative. 
(1)   Presentation Slides 
January 24, 2023 – Commission approved $200,000 for all contract agreements for the 2023
Tourism Marketing Support Program 
December 15, 2020 – Commissioners authorized the Executive Director to approve execution
of all contract agreements for the 2021 Tourism Marketing Support Program 
December 10, 2019 - Commissioners authorized the Executive Director to execute contract
agreements for the 2020 Tourism Marketing Support Program in the not-to-exceed
amount of $200,000 
July 23, 2019 – Commissioners were briefed on the Tourism Marketing Support Program 
January 30, 2018 – The Commission was briefed on the results of the 2017 Tourism Marketing
Support Program 
January 17, 2017 – The Commission was briefed on the results of the 2016 Tourism Marketing
Support Program 
November 22, 2016 – The Commission approved the final 2017 budget, including $150,000
for the Tourism Marketing Support program. 
May 17, 2016 – The Commission was briefed on 2016 results of the inaugural year of the grant

Template revised June 27, 2019 (Diversity in Contracting).


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