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By Deb Brumley
For The Sentinel 

Goldendale 'Motor Coach Package Tour' development has countywide potential

 


The shape and size of the motor coach tour package initiative, being led by the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the City of Goldendale, took another step forward May 14. More than 30 area business owners met with local government officials and chamber staff over a light dinner with the owners of Falcon’s Crest Inc., of Portland, the contracted motor coach tour liaison experts, to hear the summary of tourism opportunities which await both visitors and business owners.

According to Earlene Sullivan, Executive Director of the Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce, “the second meeting went very, very well. Attendees were very engaged over dinner and throughout the discussion period of the evening and made good progress when answering questions, brainstorming and making action plans.”

Another highlight from the May 14 meeting, according to Sullivan, was camaraderie of the attendees.

“The folks attending pulled a couple of tables together to better be able to talk and visit over dinner. There was an element of sharing, of breaking of the bread if you will; it was a strong and positive gathering,” says Sullivan. “This is the type of energy needed to make this type of venture successful.”

According to Sullivan, the meeting covered the many details required in order to get the motor coach tourism business off the ground.

“Melody [Johnson] and Harmony [Geimer] of Falcon’s Crest summarized what regular tour bus business could do for us, not just locally, but countywide, and what we need to do as a region to get in a position to participate and take advantage,” Sullivan says.

Some of the regional strengths summarized by the duo included opportunities for bus tourists to enjoy agri- and eco-tourism, art, historical attractions, climate, culinary experiences, cultural traditions, festivals, scenic by-ways, local resident’s enthusiasm for tourism.

Falcon’s Crest staff says, according to Sullivan, there is an extensive amount of work involved in preparing to become a motor coach tour destination, but there are also many large rewards which will be generated for the large-scale effort.

Sullivan sayts some critical preparatory items come next in the process of preparing to participate as a tourism destination; these include developing a countywide communication methods, so all entities that want to learn about the program and participate can do so, and securing funding so the Chamber and its motor coach tour participants can move forward.

“Melody and Harmony have sent over three proposals for me to look at and discuss with participants. The proposals are three ranges of assistance to help guide us through the organizational parts of developing a regional plan and building itineraries. Once funding is secured, those who want to help develop itineraries and learn more on how to prepare for the 2014 bus tour season are welcome to join us,” says Sullivan.

Sullivan also says the Falcon’s Crest duo has offered some of their services free to area businesses and destination operators, as well as local government bodies. The no-charge services available to business and destination operators are an assessment of business strengths and keys to marketing these strengths. The services available to government bodies are an overview of the motor coach tour industry and the advantages and opportunities of participation.

“The deadline for getting all the itinerary information in is soon. Melody and Harmony said they will be setting up many appointments with tour bus companies for the 2014 season. I heard the number might be as many as 48 individual appointments to sell our packages, to sell us as a destination. We have to get ready, be ready,” says Sullivan.

For more information about the motor coach tourism initiative, contact the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce: execdir@goldendalechamber.org or 773-3400.

Deb Brumley can be reached at dbrumley@goldendalesentinel.com.

 

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