Cowlitz County Tourism

Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau

Mark Plotkin

Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau
105 Minor Rd.
Kelso, WA 98626

Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau

Click above for official site of the Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau

Talking Business -- Tourism efforts begin anew

Courtesy of The Daily News
May 27, 2007 - By Evan Caldwell, columnist

The revamped Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau heads into the upcoming summer travel season with a new direction --- and so far, it seems to be paying off.

A large group of tourism leaders from throughout the county spent the winter crafting new plans and advertisements to attract visitors to the area. An expanded brochure, a new Web site and a renewed focus on training area workers who deal directly with incoming tourists are part of this year's new efforts. Through the end of April, lodging tax revenue --- used to gauge tourist traffic --- was up 8 percent over the same time last year, tourism bureau director Mark Plotkin said. In 2006, the county set a record for lodging tax collections at $636,000.

A splashy new car and comprehensive new Web site --- have already helped increase interest in the county, said Plotkin during a lunch meeting Thursday with area tourism stakeholders and tourism advisory members.

The bureau recently wrapped a new PT Cruiser with images and text representing the county and uses it as a mobile pro-Cowlitz County visitor center that can be set up at conventions throughout the Northwest.

The revamped effort to attract more visitors started after the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce took over tourism duties from the county in April 2006.

New advertisements in Sunset Magazine and with Horizon/Alaska Air have already resulted in more than 1,000 requests for more information.

"This shows us that there is an interest here," Plotkin said.

As for the high gas prices, Plotkin said he will be keeping a close eye on how businesses react.

"I still think there is an opportunity to draw Northwest traffic for one-night stays," he said. "And all indications are still good that we'll have a good tourism season."