Washington’s lack of tourism program hurting local businesses in Prosser

Prosser wineries fight for tourism dollars
Washington’s lack of tourism program hurting local businesses in Prosser

There are thirty wineries in the city of Prosser, but not many people know of the city as a wine destination due to a lack of tourism funding in the area.

“Let’s say half the people stumble upon Prosser accidentally, says Walter Core Wine and Culinary Center Wine Program Director, April Reddout. “Then they realize, ‘hey we’re right in the middle of wine country… this is tremendous,’ and ask us ‘why don’t we know about this place.'”

Washington state currently has no official tourism program, and this makes funding for small cities challenging, and forces small businesses to get creative with the resources they do have. Walter Core Executive Director, Abbey Cameron, saying, “the advantage of a larger tourism budget would be someone promoting the larger message about Washington and what is has to offer… and that’s a real missing piece of the puzzle in promoting what we do here.”

Not only does Prosser not have a lot of tourism funding, but it is also without taxi and car services, making it difficult for people drinking wine to travel safely between wineries.

“If they do unfortunately get to the point where they need to call a cab, that’s not an option and that’s a big problem,” says Reddout. She explains the city’s lack of wine tours and promotions is also a hurdle in trying to market what the winery has to offer.

There are two pieces of legislation currently being reviewed by Washington lawmakers. House Bill 1123 and companion bill, Senate Bill 5251. They would help create a Washington Marketing Authority that would deposit $5 million into a tourism account every two-year budget cycle by taking 0.1% of taxes from restaurants, hotels, and rental car services.