John Cooper, President and CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism, is enthused about a bill signed into law recently to fund statewide tourism marketing in Washington State.

The new law will allow the private sector to fund tourism marketing using money from five key areas; lodging, food service, attractions, entertainment, retail and transportation.

Right now the industry has to put together a plan for the legislature by December that specifically outlines as an industry we want to be accessed to build a tourism pool to market our state.

Cooper says in an effort to cut the state budget in 2011, the legislature did away with the state tourism office and that has hurt tourism in a major way. In 2013, Washington saw an increase of 2.4 percent in visitor spending but nationwide, states saw growth of 3.6 percent.

And I estimate that’s over $200 million in revenue and about 2,800 jobs that are created by that revenue that we could have seen had we been on that national state average.

Tourism is one of the state's largest industries employing nearly 155,000 people, according to the Washington Tourism Alliance which formed after the state tourism office closed.