Yakima Valley Tourism is a nonprofit group with greater than 300 enterprise, neighborhood and nonprofit members. We lead the cost for rising and cultivating tourism for all of the communities within the Valley.

Organizations like ours are acknowledged as vacation spot advertising and marketing organizations, or DMOs. I’ve advocated for a few years that the “M” in DMO must be modified to “administration.” We’re neighborhood organizations that not solely market, but in addition assist handle and enhance the vacation spot expertise. With latest societal adjustments and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the roles of DMOs have quickly developed past advertising and marketing.

Many tourism organizations have turned the nook within the post-COVID period and are specializing in the longer term. From the teachings discovered the previous two years, we’re rising stakeholder engagement and seeking to create optimistic worth for not solely vacationers, but in addition our residents and communities.

It’s essential we embrace and join with our residents and native stakeholders to enhance the neighborhood. A fascinating place to reside and work is a fascinating place to go to and do enterprise.

We lately launched into a course of to evaluate our neighborhood and develop future plans. The DestinationNEXT State of affairs Mannequin and Evaluation Instrument helps neighborhood stakeholders strategically consider their locations.

This system’s diagnostic device focuses on a stakeholder survey that measures a neighborhood’s strengths, weaknesses and engagement in 24 variables. These embody our points of interest, out of doors property, hospitality sectors, occasions, sporting and assembly venues, lodging plus well being and security. It additionally assesses our strengths in regional cooperation, authorities, enterprise and neighborhood assist, sustainability, fairness, variety and extra.

We contracted Rudloff Options of Cheyenne, Wyo., to facilitate our DestinationNEXT evaluation and planning course of. The net survey was despatched to 460 people in tourism companies, native and regional organizations, civic leaders, shoppers and prospects.

Our marketing consultant is now utilizing the outcomes to plot our area right into a state of affairs mannequin, which is able to present particular energy areas and alternatives for our group and neighborhood leaders to construct on for the longer term. This course of is the one considered one of its variety within the tourism trade and is acknowledged as one of the vital important developments in vacation spot administration lately.

The findings and suggestions might be introduced to the Yakima Valley Tourism board early subsequent 12 months, and from that, we’ll craft community-based methods to not solely enhance tourism, but in addition handle the wants and alternatives locally.

Why is all this essential? The pandemic had numerous impacts on completely different points of our society together with well being, social, financial, cultural, political, technological and environmental arenas. It demonstrated the significance of journey and tourism in not solely native economies but in addition our neighborhood material and high quality of life.

Provided that tourism in 2021 generated $346 million in Yakima County, employed 4,670 of our residents and supported tons of of native companies, a planning effort like this is a crucial and worthy effort.