At a meeting on Oct. 1, the Issaquah City Council voted to endorse the bylaws for the nonprofit tourism organization Visit Issaquah.
The council voted to create the tourism focused organization in May, when the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee requested the city formally take steps to create a destination marketing organization.
Visit Issaquah was created to help increase tourism and overnight hotel stays in the city. A tourism marketing and product-development organization has been in the city’s plans since the 2014 tourism plan.
Since May, the city has been working to develop bylaws and form a board of directors to staff the organization. On Sept. 1, the articles of incorporation were officially filed with the State of Washington as a nonprofit organization.
Tim Dutter, economic development manager at the city, explained the work that has gone into finding people for the board of directors. The bylaws state that the board will have no fewer than seven and no more than 11 members.
Several occupations were requested to be represented in the board of directors with slots created for the members: Two are to be from Issaquah hotels, one from a marketing representative, one from a restaurant, two from amenities and attractions, one local association, and four at-large community members.
The city received 30 applications for board member positions and filled all but two. They are still looking for a restaurant representative and an at-large member of the community.
Visit Issaquah already has developed a 2019 budget request, Dutter said, and the next steps are to secure funding from the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, complete a job description for the executive director position and hire for that position.
Councilmember Chris Reh moved to have the city council endorse the bylaws and shared his enthusiasm for the creation of the nonprofit.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity. There was a lot of work that went into taking this concept forward and getting us to this place we are at right now,” he said. “It will really help share our community with others near and far as we start to draw in a larger base of visitors to our community… As a community, our success is rooted in inclusion and working together and openly. As this organization goes forward, it is my firm belief that its success be rooted in that collaboration and openness.”
The motion was approved with a 6-0 vote. Councilmember Paul Winterstein was absent from the meeting.