PACIFIC COUNTY — An unseasonably, cool and wet spring compounded by clamming closures couldn’t curb the visitors from coming to Pacific County and dropping serious cash in 2016. Visitor spending totaled a record $171.1 million in 2016 — an increase of nearly $6 million over the 2015 total.

The recent record high is the culmination of a wave of increased tourist spending spanning several seasons. Over the past five years, visitor spending has risen 38 percent for Pacific County from $124.8 million in 2011 to $171.1 in 2016, according to figures unveiled at the annual tourism summit May 11 in Chinook.

“Destination marketing is a great investment for our communities,” said Long Beach Peninsula Visitor’s Bureau executive director Andi Day.

“We’re seeing continued positive results from years of consistent professional destination marketing strategy, none of which was possible without the support from stakeholders and business collaborations.”

It was a day learning the latest marketing techniques in a building that hasn’t held lectures in decades. The annual Tourism Summit was held at the Chinook School Building where Pacific County business owners, public officials, members of the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau and guest speakers convened for tourism-related workshops and to reflect on the year in terms of numbers.

Approximately 100 people representing more than 50 businesses attended the event along with featured keynote speaker and executive business coach Laurie Nichols. The event expanded this year to include additional programs to “inform, inspire and educate our hard-working community members,” Day said.

In one classroom, social media and marketing expert Robyn Unruh led a workshop on Facebook marketing and social media strategy.

“With the trend of web going up and TV going down (in popularity), it’s a different world,” Unruh said.

“The landscape and distribution of media is changing.” In another classroom, Pacific County Economic Development director Jim Sayce spoke about business planning. Lunch was provided by The Salt Pub & Hotel while stories about success and perseverance were shared among attendees.

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