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Promotion groups merge in Chelan

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CHELAN — The area’s top tourism group has merged with the independent committee that for more than a decade handled millions of dollars in regional promotional funds.

The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce officially took over duties of the Lake Chelan Tourism Promotion Group on Tuesday, uniting much of the decision-making for marketing the lake region under Chamber guidance.

We merged mostly for proficiency and efficiency,” said Chamber Executive Director Mike Steele. “The Chamber has been intimately involved with the Promotional Group for years — we sat on the board and helped make decisions — and this merger will help streamline the process.”

Formed in 2000, the Promotion Group contracted with the city of Chelan to receive its 3-percent lodging tax from rental of local hotel rooms. This year, those tax monies could total $450,000 to $500,000, Steele said.

Under the new merger, the Promotion Group will dissolve and a new Chamber committee will be established to advise on the distribution of tourism monies. The funds are earmarked for marketing only, Steele said.

Much of the funding will be used for Chamber promotions of area events and recreation, but some could be channeled to other groups’ marketing efforts in the Lake Chelan area, said Steele.

The Chamber will focus on increasing transparency and communicating our marketing goals and results to the Lake Chelan community,” he said. “New reporting systems will be put into place to monitor how the 3-percent funds are being spent, and how they help increase tourism.”

Mike Irwin: 665-1179

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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