It’s time to take full advantage of Mount Rainier’s proximity to Tacoma, according to area tourism officials who announced Tuesday a new name, logo, and tagline for Pierce County marketing that focuses on the iconic mountain, not the county name.
The destination marketing organization formerly known as Travel Tacoma + Pierce County is now Travel Tacoma — Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, a change that also reflects the merger of Travel Tacoma + Pierce County and the Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission in January.
The tagline “MOUNTAIN CITY SEA” accompanies the new name and logo. Complementing the words will be stunning, images of the 14,410-foot volcano towering behind Tacoma, itself next to Commencement Bay, their geographic relationship compressed by a long lens, not computer doctoring.
“You’re looking at the big trifecta of a mountain, a city and a sea,” Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma — Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, said in an interview. He explained that the change is meant to help better identify the region’s location for visitors. “We’re one of the very few markets in the country that have that much diversity packed into such a short geographic playing field.”
The straight-line distance from sea to summit is a mere 42 miles, said Burke, who took the reins of the joint organization in January after seven years at Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission, where he developed the MOUNTAIN CITY SEA slogan five years ago as executive director.
“We’re excited to be able to push it to a bigger platform now with a wider audience,” Burke said of the messaging.
The new name of the merged organization, Travel Tacoma — Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, also reflects that the organization serves all channels of visitor: meetings, conventions, sports, and leisure, according to a news release.
Visitors are big business in Pierce County. Last year, almost 3.4 million visitors stayed overnight in the county, generating nearly $1.2 billion of direct spending for the area’s economy, a record high.
The new logo carrying the name is text-only, meant to be minimalist so as not to detract from the dramatic photos accompanying it, the release said.
“Photography sells our destination,” Burke said in the release. “When people see images of our geographic platform, convincing them to come is a much easier proposition. Most tourism logos have some graphic element, but it’d be a shame for us to have a logo that competes with what nature has given us.”
The dramatic new look will be “kind of the guidepost for everything,” Burke said, including the organization’s website, social media, visitor guides, and catalogs. “Every time anybody interacts with us, this is what they should face.”
The previous logo had been in use since 2013, according to Matt Wakefield, senior communications manager.
“Governments care a lot about boundaries and about words, and visitors care more about experiences,” Wakefield said of the new identifier. “Having this as our name — since we’re the ones who speak to the visitors and in a lot of ways for the visitors — it really made sense for us to have this designation that was less governmental and more experience focused.”