September 10, 2020
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism provides this Tourism Talk e-news to provide ongoing information to our local businesses. We have also added tourism industry resources to for access anytime.
We are here to help all our members navigate these uncertain times.
Save The Date
2020 Washington State Tourism Conference
The Washington Tourism Alliance invites you to save the date for the 2020 Washington State Tourism Conference, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., October 8, 2020.
This virtual event represents the return of Washington's state tourism conference, last held more than a decade ago.
The program will include:
  • State of the travel and tourism industry
  • The latest in travel and tourism research and recovery indicators
  • Panel discussions on the Future of Outdoor Tourism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Adapting in an Age of Covid
  • Virtual lunch break to catch up with colleagues in your region
  • Virtual happy hour to network with colleagues in your sector
National Tracking Polls:
COVID-19 and Traveler Sentiment
September 7, 2020
Since the beginning of the pandemic, weekly research has tracked the feelings of Americans toward travel and their travel activities. Here are the latest findings:

  • Americans’ near term outlook on the pandemic is largely unchanged from last week, meaning pessimism remains in retreat. This week, 39.3% of American travelers think the pandemic situation will get worse in the United States in the next month (down 16 percentage points from one month ago), 38.1% think it will stay the same, and 22.6% think it will get better. 
  • 13.0% of American travelers reported taking a trip for Labor Day, slightly lower than July Fourth (16.5%).
  • Over one-third of American travelers reports they took a leisure trip this past summer, with beaches and rural areas the most popular destinations. Over 80% of these travelers stayed overnight on these leisure trips, largely in friends/relatives homes and hotels, and over two-thirds said they researched the coronavirus-related rules and regulations in their trip destination.

National Travel Spending
September 3, 2020

  • Travel spending continued its anemic performance the last week of August and grew by less than 1%.
  • In the week ending August 29, travel spending tallied $13 billion, reflecting a 43% drop below last
year's levels (a $10 billion loss).
  • As of the 29th, August recorded $42.1 billion in travel spending losses. August is on pace to close the month with $45 billion in travel spending losses.
  • Since the beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $360 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy.
  • The continual depressed level of travel spending has caused a loss of $46.2 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue since March 1.
  • Total travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to drop 45% by the end of 2020.

Following a comprehensive review of 628 applications for the Whatcom ReStart business grant, 264 top-tier applicants were identified for funding. The maximum grant amount was $15,000. Whatcom County and the cities of BellinghamLyndenFerndaleSumas, Everson, Nooksack and Blaine all contributed CARES Act funds to the grant program and each played an integral role in identifying the top applicants in their respective jurisdictions.
The Port of Bellingham is increasing the frequency of temporary, emergency ferry service from Point Roberts to two times per week and changing the arrival location to Bellingham to better serve Whatcom County residents who have been unable to access critical goods and services due to the closure of the Canadian border during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning Sept 8, 2020, passenger-only ferry service is offered by the Port free-of-charge on Tuesdays and Fridays between Point Roberts marina and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal located at 355 Harris Avenue.
Bellingham SeaFeast presents a SeaFeast Saturday Seafood Sale on Sept 19, 2020, a Voices of the Salish Sea virtual event on Sept. 19 and self-guided tours during Whatcom Water Week Sept. 12 – 19.
In honor of the original festival weekend, Bellingham SeaFeast invites you to enjoy the Bellingham waterfront with our seafood partners mid-day on Sept. 19 to celebrate with pre-purchased, to-go seafood options and delicious recipes to enjoy at home. Seafood will be available from Anthony’s Finn food truck (to-go meals!), Bornstein Seafoods, Pop Up Fish Shop from Trident Seafoods, and Drayton Harbor Oyster Company.
Oxford Suites Bellingham announced that after a comprehensive, on-site inspection, they have been recognized with the 2020 AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping award—an award granted to hotels throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, that receive the highest possible cleanliness and condition scores. 
The Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher galleries, Museum Store and Old City Hall in Downtown Bellingham will reopen to the public Sat., Sept. 19, 2020 under Governor Jay Inslee’s amended Phase 2 Safe Start plan for museums. Member-only days will be offered Sept. 16-18. The Family Interactive Gallery (FIG) will reopen at a later date. Photo Archives will be open by appointment only. The Museum will initially be open with limited capacity of 25 percent on Wednesdays through Sundays, with hours from noon – 4:30 p.m.
To mark ten years since the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher building’s construction, the Museum celebrates works of art welcomed into the permanent collection throughout the last decade. The new exhibition, “Anatomy of a Collection: Recent Acquisitions and Promised Gifts,” is curated by Amy Chaloupka, the Museum’s Curator of Art. This exhibition reflects the long-standing relationships with artists, institutions and donors who have helped shape and expand the Museum’s collection through gifts of art. The exhibition will debut Sept. 19 at the Lightcatcher building in Downtown Bellingham when the Museum reopens to the public in phase 2 of Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. 
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood has announced that the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center (AHAC) will reopen to the public on Monday, September 14, 2020, with strict measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Plans to resume limited Aquatic Center services are allowed under Governor Jay Inslee’s amended Phase 2 Safe Start plan for indoor pools.
The City of Bellingham is coordinating a week of free events, activities and presentations celebrating the knowledge, progress and resources the community has to offer when looking for solutions to address global climate change at the local level. The City is organizing this educational and fun week again this year between Sept. 20-27 while following guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Several organizations, governments and businesses in the community have partnered to create a list of events for all ages and diverse interest groups, including three events hosted by the City. 
Families can save money picking their own apples while their children have fun learning about local agriculture this fall at Whatcom County’s Bellewood Farms & Distillery. The public can choose from 22 varieties of apples in the orchard or in the store at the 62-acre Bellewood Farms. U-pick hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday beginning Sept. 5 through Oct. 31. Bellewood Farms is located at 6140 Guide Meridian, about halfway between Bellingham and Lynden.
With Covid upon us in 2020, Chuckanut Brewery has decided to change up how to celebrate Oktoberfest and all that is fall in Bellingham and Whatcom County. September 11-13 there will be specially priced liter mugs of Chuckanut German Style beers, Oktoberfest decorations and aged beer. And the celebrations will take place at both North (Bellingham noon-8 p.m.) and South (Port of Skagit 1-6 p.m.) Nuts. 
It’s been a long wait but Chuckanut Brewery’s Helles Lager is finally available. Due to the Coronavirus, production of Chuckanut Brewery’s award-winning Helles Lager was put on the back burner until now. Helles Lager is normally available mid-summer but this year it’s late summer. And it’s now available on tap and in bottles.
Beginning September 20, Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) will reintroduce some of its fixed-route bus service to Bellingham and Whatcom County.On March 30, WTA reduced service by 30 percent. This temporary service reduction was required to address low ridership, as well as to address shortages of staffing and safety supplies. According to a recent survey, rider requests, and observable patterns of ridership, demand for service is increasing. The availability of staffing and supplies has also stabilized.
Hotel Bellwether has named Jeffery Tom this week’s “Community Hero of the Week” Award for his passion for community and the mission of Lydia Place. The Hotel Bellwether is continuing their new program of honoring those within Bellingham with their ‘Community Hero of the Week’ to recognize those that make a difference through their work or volunteer efforts. Jeffery Tom has been a volunteer “extraordinaire” at Lydia Place for over a decade. During his time at Lydia Place, Jeffery has demonstrated his passion for our community and carrying out the mission of Lydia Place; to disrupt the cycle of homelessness and support sustained independence for current and future generations.

To nominate someone as a Community Hero who makes Bellingham a great place to call home, please fill out this form, click here.
At long last, the City of Bellingham has opened the first community park in the fast-growing north end of the city. Cordata Park, located between Stuart and Horton roads on Cordata Parkway, opened Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 for partial public use. Cordata Park is a 25-acre northside gem that includes nearly a mile of popular trails, which have been open since May. While the park has extensive new recreation amenities, some of them remain closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions.
With more than 780,000 total knee replacements done each year in the U.S., the need is greater than ever for a guide that will help patients prepare for and recover from the surgery. Healthy Knees Total Knee Replacement, the latest in a series of books on knee health by Bellingham resident Robin Robertson, is that guide. Robin and her husband, Doug, own and manager the Bellingham Training & Tennis Club. Robin calls this her “test kitchen” for the Healthy Knees programs which she’s run since 2015.
Effective immediately, Washington State Parks is banning wood and charcoal fires at its parks statewide and on ocean beaches in the Seashore Conservation Area. In Whatcom County this includes Larrabee, Birch Bay and Peace Arch State Parks.The campfire ban is in response to hot, dry and windy weather conditions and numerous wildfires that have affected much of the state in the past few days. The ban will continue at least through Sept. 15, giving staff time to assess the situation over the upcoming weekend.
Due to Increased fire danger and drawdown of firefighting resources, effective Tuesday, September 8, campfires or the ignition of wood, briquettes, or any fuel in fire pits, fire pans, and barbeque grills, are banned in all portions of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex – North Cascades National ParkRoss Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. This includes all National Park Service lands and campgrounds along State Route 20 as well as Hozomeen and the entire Stehekin Valley. Stoves or grills that are solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels are allowed in all locations. The burn ban complements similar restrictions in the adjacent Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Effective immediately, all outdoor fires within the Bellingham city limits are prohibited until further notice. This includes recreational fires. The Bellingham Fire Department has deemed this a necessary safety precaution due to continued high temperatures and dry vegetation within the city. This restriction prohibits all fires where solid wood is being used as fuel including open-air campfires and fires in fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. 
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will be offering two free days in September 2020: Sunday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 26, in recognition of Girl Scouts Love State Parks Day and National Public Lands Day, respectively. On these two days, day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle.
by Brandon
Since social distancing measures and shutdowns began in early 2020, most of us have been traveling less and staying closer to home. For those who need a getaway, 2020 is the year of the (local, socially-distant) road trip. With Phase 2 in full swing in Whatcom County, activities are limited, but my partner and I decided to carefully dip our toes in the travel pool once again. We eased in with a one-night local getaway on a weekday. Our destination: Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, only 2 hours north of Seattle and 30 minutes north of Bellingham.
by Lorin
When it comes to getting in shape, no one knows health and wellness like the Bellingham Training and Tennis Club. Established at the end of 1973, the Club has remained one of the only places in Whatcom County with indoor tennis courts. “We are the only tennis club in Bellingham and one of the few places that offer junior programs and host tournaments in Western Washington,” said Robin.
by Amelia Mularz / Taste of Home
Twin Sisters Creamery, Ferndale
The Pacific Northwest has a rep for being moody, in both its weather and music. Might we suggest taking out your blues in your cheese? Fortunately, Ferndale’s Twin Sisters Creamery—created by a husband-and-wife team and inspired by their daughters, specializes in making blues. But you’ll find additional varieties, as well as meats, jams and other fixings, at their shop..
Blaine's Open - Back For Fun!
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.

September 11-13, 18-20
Drive Thru Zoo

Time: 11 am - 5 pm
$10 per carload in advance; limited standby tickets, $15 per carload
September 12 & 15

Time: 4:30 pm - 5 pm
September 13

Time: 4:30 pm - 5 pm
September 19
September 20-27

Time: Noon
September & October 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 at a prize! Yes, members can enter. Members can also donate prizes. Enter here.
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