Chamber proposes website to boost tourism in Valley

Three-phase project is called Gateway to the Cascades.

At the Oct. 14 Snoqualmie City Council meeting, Earl Bell, board president of the SnoValley Chamber of Commerce, presented information as to why it would be beneficial for the city to support adding a new website to encourage visitors to stay longer in the Valley and increase tourism.

The SnoValley Chamber of Commerce said it will be a three-phased project called Gateway to the Cascades with the initial start of $40,000 to build the website.

“8 million people come to the Snoqualmie Valley every year,” Bell said. “But less than one half of one percent of those visitors are going to a second location.” Bell explained this translates to roughly only 40 thousand people are going to a second location on their trip. The chamber hopes the solution to keeping visitors longer could be solved with a more interactive site showcasing what the local areas have to offer to the travelers.

Bell said there currently is no good system in place to direct visitors to other destinations around the area after they have reached their original destination, despite there being a large selection of tourist attractions. Bell pointed to the Northwest Railway Museum, Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie Casino and the many shops in towns as examples of what he believes could be locations people would enjoy.

Bell wants the website to function as a tool to help travelers pre-plan their trips, and he wants to add a variety of fun activities and suggestions to attract as many people as possible.

Bell explained the biggest hurdle the Valley faces is many people use the area as a “look and go” type of place. Bell believes the main reason people don’t stay longer is because they are unaware of what is around them. Bell believes more exposure to the kinds of activities in the area would be enough to persuade people to stay longer and make that second or even third stop.

Bell said the inspiration for the current approach comes after the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce successfully launched an interactive website. Bell explained to council members that the Chelan Chamber has increased its website traffic tenfold.

Bell said the SnoValley Chamber of Commerce plans to use the same design team as the Chelan Chamber and expects there will be little risk involved moving forward.

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