View this email in your browser
Thursday, July 29, 2021               

Hi local partners, 

Thanks for reading. We value our community partnerships so much.

We're seeing the next step on this path to "fully open" with the border opening northbound on August 9, and I shared in a few interviews with Canadian press that what we really miss is Canadians coming south.

As we continue to support economic recovery and visitation, we were helped by your responses to our survey on capacity to serve guests at your organizations. Results below.

Read on for the latest traveler sentiment studies, local initiatives, and promotional opportunities.

Sandy Ward, CEO
We're here to help. Visit us at  
Partner, Marketing and Data Opportunities

Let Us Know!

Is your business pet-friendly?

Let us know so we can:

  1. Mark you as pet-friendly for additional placements on our website.
  2. Involve you in a pet-friendly video, we'll capture footage with a dog on-site!
Reply to this email with business name and a brief description of what makes you pet-friendly. Thanks!

Here's a SNEAK PEAK of an unpublished segment:

Visit Bellingham|Whatcom County Survey Results;
Patron Demand

Thank you to all who answered our survey regarding what you’re experiencing in patron demand.

We've put just the data results below not including the comments (but we thank you for sharing those extra anecdotal accounts with us as they were very helpful.)

A note from Marketing Director Amy:
What I can see in this data that isn't accessible from this static PDF view—when I segment the results just by "lodging" I see a market experiencing strong rebound, or maybe a little too strong given the available labor pool. But that patronage is back up to pre-COVID levels. It seems to be a 50/50 mix with restaurants, but when you look at just "attractions," there is much capacity and desire to serve more patrons. Locals are making up for some of the gap, but losing Canadians is still hurting those that serve the day trip market, and from anecdotal evidence it seems the regional travel surge has shortened stays a bit, causing less visitation of entertainment activities that you would explore on a second or third day, perhaps.

Click to view survey results.

Missed it and want to take the survey to add your voice? Take survey

Mobile-First Gamified Itineraries

We're adding mobile-friendly "check-in challenges" to our ways to help travelers. What in the world is that? Bascially a fun itinerary that becomes a quest for the traveler to undertake (and increases patron spending and exploration along the way!). Here's a case study on the example pass pictured above.

We're currently building the CULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM PASS. If you want to be a stop on the intinerary, you need regular open hours and things someone could do around our culture, heritage, history, etc, if they stop at your location. Want in? Write
Industry Data and News

Traveler Sentiment Update; July 27, 2021

"European Travelers"

Join moderators Erin Francis-Cummings & Dave Bratton as they share some recent questions answered from the Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report. This week’s event featured a timely and enlightening conversation with European travelers. Watch the discussion to hear directly from them about their thoughts on international travel right now, their motivations for traveling to the U.S. and the best ways to reach them.

Collaborating to Reopen International Travel

U.S. Travel is urging the administration to address visa processing issues through a sign-on letter to President Biden, outlining how and why this issue must be addressed. Learn more about the asks and why this issue matters in the latest fact sheet.

If international travel remains stagnant, the U.S. can expect to lose an additional $90 billion in export income in the second half of the year—for a total loss of $325 billion in 2020 and 2021 combined.

You can amplify the important call to reopen international travel by using custom social media graphics and copy to reinforce the necessity of reopening quickly and safely. These resources are open to the entire industry. Click here to access the social guide. 

Local Updates and Opportunities

Key Insights
for Washington Businesses Regarding SharedWork

As businesses reopen and bounce back, SharedWork continues to be a smart alternative. 

SharedWork provides flexibility for businesses to restart and bring their employees back from unemployment with reduced hours. Businesses gradually build back their team with qualified workers receiving partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. 

SharedWork benefits won’t affect employers’ experience rating through the week ending Sept. 4, 2021. We’re able to provide this relief because a new state law says businesses won’t be charged anytime the federal government fully funds benefits. 

Learn more now!

Whatcom County Reaches 70% Vaccination Milestone

On July 12, Whatcom County reached the state target of 70% vaccination against COVID among Whatcom County residents ages 16 and older, becoming the fourth county in Washington to reach that mark, and the second large county (population of 50,000 or more) to do so.

As seen on CTV: Tourism Sector Shares Concerns
about Canada-U.S. Border Reopening Plan

Businesses south of the border are also anxious to welcome Canadians back.

“Some of our smaller, privately owned retail establishments tell us that as much as 30 to 40 per cent of their business comes from Canadians. So it's our small retailers, not just the big guys that have been hurt by the border closure,” said Sandy Ward, of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

Ward is concerned the lifting of restrictions won’t be reciprocal on both sides of the border.

In the B.C. press: Wash. State Border Towns Await
Influx of Canadians in Anticipation of Looser Travel Rules

Despite the potential for Canadians to make a return in the near future, Sandy Ward, president and CEO of the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Bureau, said questions still remain over the logistics of tourists making a return south of the border.

“Is it going to be a vaccine passport, is it just your vaccine card, how are they going to verify that that's not fake?” she said.

“So if the vaccine certificate becomes a problem, are people going to [deal with the] hassle? Are they less inclined to do it?”

But she remains optimistic the logistics work themselves out in the coming months and Bellingham will benefit from the renewed appearance of British Columbians cruising down the I-5 on their way to Seattle.

How to find Mental Health Services in your Area

By all accounts, it’s been a very difficult year and a half. You and your fellow business owners are people who have worked hard and sacrificed to achieve your dreams. There are long-term emotional effects of this economic slowdown caused by the pandemic – loyal employees have been let go, generational family businesses have been lost and business models continue to change. Click here for a list of mental health resources that are available for you and your team. 

Creating a Great Workplace Culture with Anthony Anton

Join Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton as he discusses creating a great workplace culture to attract employees to your business. Meeting takes place at 10 a.m. Aug. 4. Click to register.

Current Campaigns and Outreach

Share Our Campaigns, Support Our Local Economy!


Follow Bellingham Experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
for daily updates and content to share! 


Things to do This Weekend in Bellingham & Whatcom County

Help spread the word about upcoming, don't-miss activities & events happening in Whatcom County! Every week we update and share our blog Things To Do This Weekend on social media to help visitors (and locals) experience Bellingham & Whatcom. 

Our calendar is for visitor-friendly activities throughout Whatcom County so make sure you ADD YOUR EVENT so we can add you to our blog, tag you in our social media posts, and help spread the word! We will tag you on social media and reshare tagged posts to help cross-promote! 

Build Your Own Campaign! 

Choose your own adventure! Check out our itineraries to create your own one-of-kind social media posts telling folks why they should visit Bellingham and why they should add YOUR organization as a part of their trip!

Need a place to start? Our drive & hike Mount Baker itinerary is perfect for the summer and has the inside scoop on where to hike and dine when visiting our National Forest. Tag us @BellinghamExperience and #BellinghamExperience so we can help share your post too! 🚗🧳

Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County Photo Contest

We have our winners!! 📸 Thanks to everyone who submitted their shots! We love seeing and sharing all the incredible experiences that happen in Whatcom County Our three winners for the annual Visit Bellingham Whatcom County photo contest:

🥇1st Place is Chelsea Robinson 📸 Winchester Mountain
🥈2nd Place is Nickee Gwinner 📸 Fishing at Toad Lake
🥉3rd Place is Alicia Toney 📸 Misty Morning Walk

Submissions are now open! Enter your photos of Bellingham and Whatcom County for a chance to win a gift card to Appel Farms Cheese, a gift card to Woods Coffee and passes to the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention and Lynden Pioneer Museum

Let your guests know they can share their trip! Here’s some text to help you share: "Check out Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County on Facebook or head to to submit your shot! This is your last chance to enter your photos of Bellingham and Whatcom County for a chance to win a custom forest bathing session with Earth Elements, free scoops at Edaleen Dairy, or a gift card to Sirena Gelato 📸#BellinghamExperience"

Copyright © 2021 Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County, All rights reserved.

Did someone forward you this email? Subscribe Here

We have a few different mailing lists, and we want to make sure you don't miss something you need!
We would love it if you would  
update your preferences rather than doing this: unsubscribe from this list.