December 17, 2020
Welcome to Tourism Talk.

We're here to help—here's what's in this issue:

  • Whatcom Think Local Gift Card Campaign Updates and Help
  • This Week's Traveler Sentiment Research from Destination Analysts
  • Industry, Local, and Member News
  • Blogs to enjoy or share from our website
Think Local First Gift Card Campaign Update
The Whatcom Think Local First Gift Card is a community-based digital gift card intended to drive commerce to our local merchants--buy or enroll at

Since it went on sale a few weeks ago, the community has jumped on board and bought over $182K in cards. As of this writing, only $28K have been redeemed . . . so:

Make sure you're telling your customers you accept the card!

Many card recipients will be looking for local places to spend their exciting Think Local First dollars.

Sasquatch has come out of hiding to help promote buying local. Check out #ShopLikeSquatch on Facebook or Instagram and join in the fun with your own social media promotions.

We hosted a Think Local Merchant Training recently. If you or your colleagues missed the webinar, you can view the recording here. Participants learned how to take full advantage of the Think Local First Whatcom Gift Card and how to take orders via your POS and through your online portals.
December 15th Update
on COVID-19’s Impact on American Travel
Find out about current traveler sentiment regarding travel activities, the COVID-19 vaccine and the future of group meetings.You can view the slide deck here or video below.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association is inviting you to act. See or share a video by the COVID Relief Now Coalition: 
Whatcom READSBellingham and Whatcom County’s annual countywide book club, kicks off 2021 with a thought-provoking slate of programs inspired by this year’s featured title, Washington Black by award-winning author Esi Edugyan. The online events are free and open to the public; pre-registration is required.
For the third time in the last four years, the Western Washington University Department of Athletics has earned the prestigious NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence. WWU’s student-athletes recorded an Academic Success Rate of 90%, part of a record 42 NCAA Division II member schools that earned the NCAA award in 2020. Western also earned the award in 2017 and 2018, and fell one-percent short in 2019. Western was one of only six public institutions to earn the award out of the 42 schools in 2020, and one of only two schools from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference joining Seattle Pacific University.
Kulshan Brewing Company is now shipping their canned offerings statewide to bring more craft beer to the people. The brewery is offering several of their award-winning beers as well as a Special Release Variety Pack which will feature seasonal and limited release brews. They plan to expand this program to include their bottled offerings at a later date. Washingtonians can view the current selection available for purchase on the brewery’s online store. There will be a one case minimum per order with a $20 shipping and handling fee per case added at check out. Orders will be sent out twice per week.
The Port of Bellingham has recently completed upgrading all terminal restrooms at Bellingham International Airport with touchless technology sink faucets and toilets. Furthermore, touchless paper towel dispensers and soap dispensers were upgraded to prevent the spreading of contagions. “The Port is committed to keeping its customers safe,” said Executive Director Rob Fix. This is the latest in a number of CDC and industry recommended measures the Port has taken in reducing the risk of COVID-19.
by Amy
Nothing says love like homemade food crafted from the heart, and for many in Whatcom County, the ability to create and share gorgeous gingerbread creations is an annual tradition. I know in my home, pandemic baking has upped the skills of my family (along with my weight), and a gingerbread house challenge seems like a fitting showstopper finale to 2020.
by Hilary
The 2020 holiday season is here and this year, let’s keep it local! Find that perfect gift at one of Bellingham and Whatcom County’s unique shops and help support our community. Local stores are undoubtedly struggling, but they are still hoping they can finish the year strong. While making your family and friends’ holidays bright with a perfectly picked gift from one of our local retailers, you are also making the holidays brighter for our local artisans and merchants. 
by Lorin
When the sun starts to set earlier, and the year starts to come to a close, Whatcom County lights up with Holiday Happenings. Spend this 2020 holiday season exploring and support the incredible local businesses we have in Whatcom County. Due to COVID-19, holiday happenings will look a little different this year, please check with any activity directly via their contact information before attending.
by Lorin
Please check our Travel Advisory page for the latest guidelines and restrictions for Washington State and Whatcom County before planning an outing. We also encourage contacting the events directly via their contact information on event listings in this blog.
During these times of physical distancing, it is important that our community works to remain socially connected. The events calendar serves as a hub for Whatcom County businesses, restaurants, stores and other organizations to share their events and online activities.

Dec 17 - Dec 19

Time varies depending on activity
Dec 17 - Dec 23

Time & Cost Varies depending on specific part of festivities
Dec 17 - Dec 27

Time: 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
December 17-25
Dec 18-19
Dec 19

Virtual Event
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm
November / December 2020
Our region is full of beauty! Send us your scenic photos from all around the county and enter them in our latest contest for a chance to win local prizes, including a 2021 Randy Smalls Calendar! Yes, members can enter and you can also donate prizes.
Questions? We are happy to answer them for you.
Give us a call at 360-671-3990, email us or visit our website at

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229