Gig Harbor has an opportunity to shine with Go West Summit

February 5, 2014 

Did anybody see the promotion for the 2015 U.S. Open during the NFC Championship game last month? The national media attention was focused right here in our own back yard.

Video of the beautiful Chambers Bay Golf Course flashed across the screen with commentary from the big guys, the national sports commentators.

I’m certain we will see more of that throughout the upcoming year. Watch for it!

It is super exciting to see our region shine. We will undoubtedly get visitors who are in town for the U.S. Open, and they’ll travel from University Place and Tacoma over to Gig Harbor.

An event that will come to town this month is the Go West Summit. It will happen Feb. 25-29 throughout Pierce County, but mainly at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and the Hotel Murano. There will be attendees who come in early and stay late at various locations across the state.

During the event, an excursion is planned for Gig Harbor, where the attendees will visit the Harbor History Museum and Heritage Distillery. They’ll also have an open evening when they can come back for dinner wherever they choose.

Tourism is a vital part of any economy, and the Go West Summit is a huge victory for Pierce County. The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau worked feverishly to win the right to host the show.

As you’re probably aware, tourism can bring substantial benefits to a community and its residents. It diversifies the economy, so communities don’t depend on just one or two industries, and it increases the tax base that helps to pay for amenities and services.

The Go West Summit and its attendees are no different than any other traveler; in fact, they are better, because they, in turn, will come back and bring people with them.

The summit is a travel trade show with tour buyers who represent more than 16 countries throughout the world. The tour companies will send almost 200 delegates to Pierce County to scout opportunities. When they return home, they have contacts and ideas for their upcoming traveling clients.

In addition, results from Go West surveys show that buyers are expected to bring more than 6 million visitors into the United States in the 18 months that follow the summit, directly because of the show.

Not all of those folks will come to Pierce County, but they will come to the United States, and they might have the beautiful Pacific Northwest on their radar screens because of Go West 2014.

The time spent hosting these guests and opening the door to a fabulous experience — either in a museum, a shop, a restaurant, or wherever it may be — will create an exponential return on investment for Gig Harbor and its local businesses over time.

Bennish Brown, the president and CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau, has said to Summit attendees: “The locals are genuine and approachable and will make you feel right at home!”

So keep those dates in mind, and let’s help Gig Harbor shine at the Go West Summit — and beyond.

Karen Scott is the marketing director for the City of Gig Harbor. She can be reached by email at

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