Agents discover the best of Port of Seattle on virtual FAM

by Charlotte Flach

Popularly known as the gateway to Alaska, the Port of Seattle is also the gateway to a host of fantastic experiences in and around the city, a webinar hosted by the destination revealed.

Agents gathered online to hear all about pre- and post-cruise experiences and they weren’t disappointed.

Representatives from tourist boards, airlines, tour operators and attractions showed video clips highlighting the best of Seattle, Washington, and its surrounding areas.

A favourite with locals, Whidbey Camano Island is a secret escape just 50km away. Its pristine beaches, forests and rural landscapes can be reached by ferry or Deception Pass Bridge by car. Migrating birds and whales come to enjoy the mild climate, while visitors can experience seaside towns and fresh seafood, including its famous mussels, at the Captain Whidbey Hotel.

Seattle is also a top destination for food, said Liz Johnson, Director-International Tourism at Visit Seattle. “We have amazing seafood- salmon, halibut, mussels, oysters and more. Because we sit on the Pacific Ocean we have a lot of Asian influence too: we love dim sum for brunch and pho for a cold day.”

Highlighting other experiences across the state, Mike Mo, Director of Strategic Partnership and Tourism Development at the Washington Tourism Alliance, said: “We have Native American experiences all over Washington State, and many are starting to embrace cultural exhibitions. They are such an important part of our story, so I encourage visitors to check that out.

“Washington is beautiful all year around, but aim for spring or autumn- as there are less people, access to many of the sites is easier, and it’s still a lovely time of year to go,” he added.

The state is also home to Long Beach, the longest drivable beach in America and St Helens National Volcanic Monument, where visitors can learn about the event and witness remnants of the explosion. February is a good time to visit, with museums charging half price entry fees.

Keen oenophiles can visit the small town of Walla Walla, part of Washington wine country, located just over a four-hour drive from Seattle. “Our high street is filled with boutiques, wine tasting shops and restaurants all with wine tasting experiences. All the surrounding vineyards are very accessible at just a kilometre away, and only about 15 minutes apart,” said Guy Glaeser, founder of local tour operator Inquisitours.

And of course the port’s cruise offering continues to be solid, hosting over 200 departures each season, with numerous major cruise lines including Norwegian, Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival and Princess sailing from its berths. Access to the city and cruise terminals will be even easier from next year, as Seattle Tacoma International Airport will open a new international arrivals hall, with direct flights from the UK continuing to run in 2022.

Asked about upcoming fam trips, Johnson said: “We are actively working with the UK travel trade to invite them to see Seattle and the surrounding areas, so get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do.”

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