EVERETT— Seattle NorthCountry, here we come. Oh wait, we’re already here!
“Seattle NorthCountry” is the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau’s new marketing brand aimed at attracting more tourists to Snohomish County.
“It’s our visitor-facing brand,” said Amy Spain, the agency’s executive director. “We’re not talking to residents. They’re already in the know about all the great things here.”
The tourism bureau recently received trademark approval for the Seattle NorthCountry name and logo — a stylized sketch of mountains and water — though it began using the slogan a year ago.
“Seattle NorthCountry True PNW” is intended to conjure up images of outdoor recreation, urbanscapes and rural vistas, Spain said. “True PNW” refers to having a true Pacific Northwest experience, she said.
Tourism is a significant economic driver.
In 2017, the county generated about $2 billion from tourism and outdoor recreation, Snohomish County officials have said.
That figure is expected to jump this year based on the start of commercial airline service at Paine Field and a related upswing in hotel occupancy, Spain said.
In 2018, visitors who added a hotel stay spent more than $772 million in the county, more than twice the $294 million spent by day travelers.
Capitalizing on Seattle’s name is one way to get noticed.
Greater Seattle Partners, a public-private nonprofit launched last year to attract new business, promotes the region as a whole. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers is among the group’s leaders.
Everett’s new passenger terminal grabbed the spotlight this spring under the billing “Seattle’s second airport.”
There’s a reason for hanging onto the Emerald City’s coattails.
Seattle is the 14th-most-recognized destination in the world, said Spain, citing a recent travel study. “Visitors for the most part don’t care what county they’re in — and often don’t know.”
For some, Seattle NorthCountry’s whereabouts is a puzzler. A local cab driver had never heard of it. In an Everett pizza parlor, when asked if they delivered to Seattle NorthCountry, workers tried to look it up on a phone and couldn’t find such a place. They were good sports.
Others wish the name didn’t include a reference to Seattle because it’s not their favorite city.
“I understand Seattle NorthCountry is for tourists, but there must be a better way to phrase it,” said Everett resident Eric Erickson.
On the other hand, Marie Preskitt, who grew up in West Seattle and now lives in Mukilteo, thinks the name is on point.
When she describes her Mukilteo home to those who don’t know the area, it’s “right north of Seattle,” said Preskitt. “Seattle NorthCountry makes sense.”
The county’s business community has long embraced the north-of-Seattle identity to attract customers, Spain said.
Local hotels have added Seattle to their name as an identifier: Courtyard by Marriott Seattle-Lynnwood and Hampton Inn Seattle-Everett, to name two.
Plus, Spain said, “Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip is nowhere near Seattle and Seattle Goat Yoga is in Snohomish.”
So far, the tourism bureau’s campaign appears to be working its magic, at least in northern California and Nebraska.
Deb Long, an Omaha resident, first heard of Seattle NorthCountry when her son and his wife, who live in San Francisco, were mulling a vacation destination a few months ago.
“They were going to the Seattle area and my daughter-in-law loves to do the research,” said Long, director of Omaha’s Ford Conservation Center, an art restoration provider.
“They wanted to go to to the downtown area, but they also wanted to see what was north of there, and the name came up,” Long said in a phone interview.
She even has an inkling as to Seattle NorthCountry’s location.
“You keep on going up the coast and it’s north of the city,” said Long, who once lived Eugene, Oregon. “I love that part of the country — it makes me want to visit.”