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News & Information

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Rural Tourism Workshop Series

Snohomish County Tourism Bureau

and Snohomish County Office of Trade and Economic Development

Host Rural Tourism Workshops in Skykomish/Snohomish River Valley and

the Stillaguamish/Sauk River Valleys


A series of rural tourism workshops was held held this spring 2016 to help rural Snohomish County communities expand their tourism infrastructure and increase visitor numbers, thereby benefiting local economies. The Rural Tourism Workshop Series was presented by the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, the Snohomish County Economic Development and Trade Division in conjunction with Pandion Consulting.

Modeled on the highly effective Travel Oregon Rural Tourism Studio Series, Snohomish County’s Rural Tourism Workshop Series was led by Dan Moore, principal of Pandion Consulting and travel industry expert. The workshops focused on the county’s two dynamic river valleys, the Skykomish and Snohomish River Valley to the east and the Stillaguamish and Sauk River Valleys in the north. Both areas offer tremendous opportunities for expanding outdoor recreation, adventure travel and agri-tourism.

The series of workshops began in February 2016 with community visioning and planning on how the regional economy can grow with tourism as a key component. Workshop sessions also incorporated hands-on, skill-building exercises and mentorship from travel industry leaders through panel discussions.

The final session integrated the work completed into a tourism action plan and accountability road map. Participants formed teams to fulfill this plan and continue the efforts begun in the workshop series.

“The goal is to help rural communities capitalize on their assets and develop a robust, sustainable tourism economy,” said Amy Spain, Executive Director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. “With many recreational assets coming online in East and North Snohomish County, now is the time to assist these communities in expanding their tourism infrastructure and visitor readiness so travelers’ experiences are maximized and local economies benefit. Pandion Consulting’s Rural Tourism Workshop Series is designed to provide that targeted assistance, enhance community cohesion, and thereby strengthen Snohomish County’s position as a growing tourism destination.”

Community leaders, tourism entrepreneurs, tour operators, outdoor enthusiasts, lodging property owners, restauranteurs, and anyone with an interest in strengthening the local economy through tourism were encouraged to participate in the Rural Tourism Workshop Series.

Spain and Bennett have worked the past years on a grass-roots level, holding roundtables to deepen connections between stakeholders working development priorities within the Skykomish and Stillaguamish River Valley regions with larger tourism attractions in the County. “With many recreational assets coming online in east and north Snohomish County, the timing is perfect to help these communities develop their tourism infrastructure, visitor readiness and maximizing visitor experiences to benefit these local economies,” said Spain. 

“The workshops will strengthen and support stakeholder relationships already formed between recreation and conservation organizations working with the communities, federal and state agencies, and the county and tourism bureau,” said Annique Bennett, Strategic Tourism Coordinator with the Snohomish County Economic Development and Trade Division. “Projects such as the Sky to Sound Water Trail from Skykomish to Everett, trails for motorized vehicles, Centennial Trail, Whitehorse Trail, and the North Mountain Bike Trail in Darrington will benefit, as will future rural tourism projects.”

Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting, organized and conducted the Rural Tourism Workshop Series. He is widely respected for designing cutting-edge travel products and applying innovative techniques to market those products. His clients span the globe and include individual travel companies, entrepreneurs, travel destinations, governments and associations. Moore has more than 15 years’ experience as a professional adventure guide and has provided regional leadership for Seattle-based travel company Evergreen Escapes.   Dan has served on the Washington Tourism Alliance Board since 2011, and most recently participated in the Governor’s Outdoor Recreation Blue Ribbon Task Force. He has attended every Adventure Travel World Summit since 2008, learning best practices and industry trends from business leaders from around the world.

Please see the documents produced by these workshops.  Thank you to all those that participated.