Tacoma to host major tourism conference in 2014

Local tourism officials announced Monday Tacoma will host the 2014 Go West Summit, a four-day conference scheduled for Feb. 24-27, 2014, that is expected to bring more than 150 international and domestic tour operators, as well as 200 tourism suppliers from the western United States, to the Pierce County area.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the local and state economy and travel industry to emphasize the assets and amenities of the Pacific Northwest,” said Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau (TRCVB) president and CEO Bennish Brown.

The TRCVB partnered with the City of Tacoma, Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (GTCTC) and Hotel Murano to submit a proposal to host the 2014 Go West Summit in Tacoma. Eleven tourism organizations attended a welcome dinner for representatives to differentiate Pierce County as a host destination and showcase Washington’s support of the conference. Tourism organizations that attended the dinner included the TRCVB, Hotel Murano, Olympia Peninsula, Washington Tourism Alliance, Washington State Destination Marketing Organization, Visit Seattle, Visit Spokane, Visit Rainier, Visit Vancouver USA, Seattle Southside and Yakima Valley.

“Collaboration with statewide partners helped Pierce County secure Go West 2014,” added Brown.

Pierce County cities such as Tacoma and Lakewood will prepare for the Go West Summit over the next six months. The TRCVB is working with area restaurants, attractions and surrounding cities to plan evening receptions and experiential activities for conference attendees such as five Adventure Day tours that will highlight Mount Rainier National Park and the glass art and collector vehicle culture in Tacoma.

“The county has so much to gain from hosting the Summit, particularly within the international travel industry,” said City of Lakewood economic development manager Ellie Chambers-Grady.

According to a Go West Summit survey, over $14.5 million worth of contracts were signed on the show floor during this year’s conference in Fort Worth, Texas, and the conference is expected to bring more than 6.2 million visitors over 18 months.

The Go West Summit aims to bring together suppliers and international and U.S.-based tour operators to to generate tourism business in the western United States. More information is available online at gowestsummit.com.