Vancouver is growing into a tourism hub with visitors arriving by road, river and rail creating an incredible effect on the region. The impact of tourism can be hard to see at first, but this industry means big business for the regional economy.  In 2018, $585 million was generated by visitor spending in Clark County and the benefits rippled throughout our community. 

Our featured partner this month, Visit Vancouver USA, is a key driver for the tourism industry in our region. The organization focuses on increasing visitor spending by marketing the area as a destination for meetings, conventions, sporting events, group tours and leisure travelers. This year, the port’s Chief of External Affairs, Ryan Hart, is serving as Board Chair of the organization, working to strengthen our collective efforts to help our hometown stand out above the rest.

The site plan for the port’s Terminal 1 redevelopment

“The port’s efforts on job creation and economic development are very closely aligned with the mission of Visit Vancouver USA,” said Hart, a Vancouver native. “On our Terminal 1 project, in particular, we see a number of synchronicities as we develop and market a premier waterfront destination.”

The timing of Terminal 1’s redevelopment is perfect. Ground stabilization for the AC Hotel by Marriott is underway, targeting a November 2021 completion. The design for the northern portion of the site is also in the works, and Terminal 1 remains an active berth for river cruise traffic. Each time a boat docks at Terminal 1, travelers disembark for destinations around our city to experience food, culture, and history. With the goal of complementing the City of Vancouver’s park and Columbia Waterfront LCC’s development, Terminal 1 and the Vancouver waterfront are on track to be a destination like no other.

Another great aspect of Visit Vancouver’s work is marketing the region as a host location for sports events through the Vancouver USA Sports brand. Sports tourism is a largely untapped market for us in Vancouver and the organization is working hard to capitalize on the opportunity.

Visit Vancouver USA President and CEO Cliff Myers

“After going through the feasibility exercise, we found multiple facilities with high potential, strong local event organizers and an enthusiastic community,” said Visit Vancouver USA President and CEO Cliff Myers. “Our sales team is working hard to attract this business, bringing players and their families to the area for a weekend or more. We will be continuing the conversation with local stakeholders about how to optimize our market, from minor facility improvements, collaborating to attract new events and aligning our advertising efforts. This could significantly grow our local economy and the tourism industry.”

What’s next for 2020?

Rebranding is underway. Developed in 2010, the current brand calls on travelers to “Discover the Original,” focusing on the great history embedded in the region. Visit Vancouver USA is looking to grow the organization along with Vancouver, and understands that the future looks bright:

“Visit Vancouver is working to showcase every corner of our city for all that it has to offer the people that live and work here, and for those that come to visit,” said Myers. “History will always be important, but today, we have so much more to offer than we did 10 years ago.”

Keep an eye out for new videos highlighting the destination, increased social media presence and promotion, and the fifth annual ‘Dine the Couve’ restaurant month from the tourism office this year.

Learn more about Visit Vancouver USA on their website and hear from Cliff Myers in person at the port’s May 5 lecture on river tourism. For more information on the lecture series, read our news release here.