In Gig Harbor, we love travelers

May 7, 2014 

My family and I just returned from a 10-day road trip down Interstate 5 and up the California and Oregon coast along U.S. Highway 101. I can’t count the number of small towns we passed through. One right after another. Some more quaint and charming than others, but one constant was we spent money in all of them. When I returned to my office, and flipped the calendar over to May, I was reminded of National Travel & Tourism Week, May 3 to 10. This week in May recognizes us, the traveler, and thanks us for stimulating the economy. The U.S. Travel Association is the national, nonprofit organization representing all components of the travel industry in the United States and they are the promoter of National Travel & Tourism Week. Travel is an industry generates more than $2 trillion in economic output across the country. The mission of the U.S. Travel Association is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

This year’s theme for Travel & Tourism Week is “The Travel Effect.” Because I just traveled close to 1,500 miles, I think of the travel effect as all of the dollars I spent supporting small business along the way. When I hear travel effect, I think of the power of travel and how travel supports America and all those small towns.

But what the travel effect is actually referring to, in this case, is what the travel and tourism research studies show to be the positive effects on relationships, health and education. This news should inspire our local retailers to welcome these travelers as they spread their good vibes and green bucks across town. There are two sides to the travel coin: the personal satisfaction, and the backbone it provides our U.S. economy.

Summer is quickly approaching. When planning your summer journey, keep our businesses in mind. In addition to any summer travel plans you might have across the country, support local businesses along the way. We are home to many independently owned shops and restaurants, hotels and service companies.

Did you know that downtown has more than 20 restaurants, three bookstores and two pet supply stores?

In addition, Gig Harbor’s sales tax is almost a full percentage lower than Tacoma’s and King County’s sales tax. That translates into real savings for you. In addition, about $1 out of every $8 in sales tax goes directly to Gig Harbor and stays here. This money pays for items such as local roads, police and parks.

To further support tourism in Gig Harbor, this month the Get Around Gig Harbor Trolley begins to roll between Uptown and Downtown. This is a fine way to make your way in and around both parts of town, and in between, without even having to find a parking place.

Through a community partnership between the city of Gig Harbor, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Uptown Gig Harbor, the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance and Pierce Transit, we have been able to support the project financially in order to keep the fare down. We have tweaked the schedule to maximize ridership. The fare will be 50 cents and is free to holders of the Regional Reduced Fare Permit. Pets and bicyclists are welcome, too.

So enjoy a progressive dinner – or happy hour – at various restaurants or tasting rooms, and leave the car at home.

Karen Scott is the marketing directory for the city of Gig Harbor. She can be reached at or by calling 253-853-3554.

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