IFWTWA Conference, May 6-9, 2018
Whidbey Island, Washington:
“Farms, mussels and whales, oh my!”
Whidbey Island is a traveler’s dream. Anchored in the Salish Sea, only about 45 minutes from Seattle, the island is nestled between the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Visitors find a vibrant farm-to-table culinary scene with hundreds of independent farmers and skilled chefs who source from the island. Top that off with a lively arts community, rich heritage, charming seaside villages, plenty of stunning scenery, exciting outdoor adventure and friendly islanders, and you have the perfect location for the IFWTWA 2018 Conference. Oh, and spring is an active whale-spotting season when migrating whales often feed offshore.
Attendees at the 2018 IFWTWA Conference on Whidbey Island can expect something a little different. Instead of a hotel conference center, the conference will be held at Camp Casey, a historic army base turned conference center. Don’t worry, attendees won’t have to drop and give us 20; instead, the islanders are very excited to host IFWTWA and are rolling out the welcome mat. Attendees will enjoy a rich professional development program, a Tourism Marketplace, excellent food and drink showcasing the island’s bounty, and a grand tour of Whidbey Island.
Learn more about Whidbey Island.
Who can attend? The 2018 IFWTWA Conference is open to members and non-members alike.
Non-member Referral Credit: Members will receive a $40 referral credit for every non-member they refer who registers for the conference and joins IFWTWA by Dec. 31, 2018. The non-member must specify who referred them on their conference registration form. The referral credit may be applied to membership renewal or a future media trip.
REGISTER FOR THE 2018 IFWTWA CONFERENCE: Registration is simple. Complete and submit the online registration form. It will link you to PayPal to pay your registration fee. Once you have registered and paid, you will receive confirmation emails.
Registration includes a Welcome Reception, all conference sessions, a guided tour of Whidbey Island, the opportunity to apply for pre- and post-conference media trips. Registration also includes the following meals: Welcome Reception (hearty appetizers and local beverages), May 6 • Breakfasts (for those staying at The Coachman Inn & Suites), May 7, 8, 9 • Break refreshments at Camp Casey, May 7 • Lunches, May 7, 8 • Dinner, May 8
Early (Thru 12/31/17)
Standard (1/1 – 5/6/18)
Associate Member (Tourism Marketplace Exhibitor)
Associate Member (not a Tourism Marketplace Exhibitor)
Non-member Tourism Marketplace Exhibitor
Registration payment: The registration form will automatically take you to PayPal to pay your registration fee. Should you prefer to pay directly with a credit card, please call the IFWTWA office at 1-877-439-8929, Monday through Friday, between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm PST.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations before January 1, 2018 will receive a 75% refund on registration fees. Cancellations between January 1 and March 1, 2018 will receive a 50% refund on registration fees. Cancellations after March 1, 2018 will not receive a refund on registration fees. Lodging cancellations are subject to the hotel’s cancellation policies.
Lodging: 2018 IFWTWA Conference attendees are responsible for booking and paying for their own lodging. Attendees are encouraged to stay at The Coachman Inn & Suites in Oak Harbor, a AAA 3-Diamond-rated hotel. The group rate at the Coachman Inn & Suites is $110.00 per night plus tax. To make lodging reservations, call The Coachman Inn & Suites at (360) 675-0727, and mention that you are attending the “IFWTWA Conference” for the group rate. The group rate is available from May 4 – 11, 2018, for those wishing to extend their stay. Note: Intra-island shuttle transportation during the conference will only be available to and from The Coachman Inn & Suites. If you stay elsewhere, you will need to get to The Coachman Inn to catch the shuttle to the conference and related activities.
Getting to Whidbey Island: Those flying into SeaTac International Airport should reserve round trip transportation in advance on the Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle ($79 round-trip). The shuttle will transport passengers between SeaTac and The Coachman Inn & Suites in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. The fee includes ferry passage. Those driving can access the island via the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry, the Coupeville-Port Townsend Ferry, or the Deception Pass Bridge.
Intra-island Shuttle Transportation: Shuttle service will be provided between The Coachman Inn and the Oak Harbor Yacht Club (May 6 Welcome Reception venue), between The Coachman Inn and Camp Casey (the May 7 conference venue), between Coupeville (location of evening dine-around on May 7) and The Coachman Inn, and for the Whidbey Island guided tour on May 8. Conference attendees staying at The Coachman Inn & Suites will not require a car for any conference activities.
May 6: Arrive, stop by the IFWTWA Hospitality Suite at The Coachman Inn & Suites for conference materials and hotel check in. An evening Welcome Reception will be held at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club, with locally sourced foods and samples of local wines, ciders, beers and spirits. Island dignitaries will be present to welcome IFWTWA conference attendees.
May 7: After breakfast at The Coachman Inn & Suites, catch the shuttle to Camp Casey for a full day of professional development activities, which include keynote speaker Erin James, editor of SIP Northwest magazine and author of Cidercraft, and a panel of local beverage producers; a culinary panel of island farmers and notable chefs; a tourism panel focusing on the island’s arts, heritage and adventure; workshops focusing on the marketing and branding in the current media marketplace; a Tourism Marketplace with one-on-one “speed-dating” meetings between media professionals and Tourism Marketplace exhibitors. The day ends with an optional activity: a shuttle to the historic, waterfront village of Coupeville (Washington state’s second oldest town) for a “Taste of Coupeville.” Restaurants and shops are offering specials just for IFWTWA Conference attendees in this tiny, walkable town. The charming seaside town is where the movie “Practical Magic” was filmed. Shuttle service back to The Coachman Inn & Suites is provided.
May 8: After breakfast at The Coachman Inn & Suites, catch the shuttle for a full-day Whidbey Island Tour. Highlights include a visit to the famous Penn Cove Mussels for a behind-the scenes tour of mussel farming; a special luncheon featuring local products with island artists in action; free time in Langley, the “Village by the Sea,” to browse unique boutique shops, breweries, tasting rooms, eateries, galleries and a chance to ring the famous whale bell if you spot whales in Saratoga Passage; and finally, a farm-to-table dinner prepared by an island chef and showcasing the bounty of the island.
May 9: After breakfast, catch the shuttle to SeaTac Airport for your trip home. If you have been selected for a post-conference media trip, remain for transportation to your destination.
Tourism Marketplace: The IFWTWA 2018 Conference will include a May 7 Tourism Marketplace where destination and other tourism industry exhibitors will meet with media professionals one-on-one. This is an opportunity for conference attendees to find story ideas and connect for possible media trips.
Anyone interested in being a Tourism Marketplace exhibitor should contact Allen Cox, IFWTWA VP and Conference Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Early Arrival Optional Activities: Conference attendees wishing to arrive early may explore Whidbey Island on their own; some tourism operators and attractions will offer discounts for IFWTWA Conference early arrivals. Discounted tours for early arrivals include:
Deception Pass State Park Guided Hike:
Enjoy an easy guided day hike in famous Deception Pass State Park on Sunday morning, May 6, with local resident Robyn Myers. Grab your camera to capture breathtaking views. Conference attendees will leave the Coachman Inn & Suites at 11:00 a.m. and return at 1:00 p.m. There is a $10 charge for the hike to cover transportation costs. Space is limited to 7 participants on a first come, first served basis. To reserve your spot email Robyn Myers Robyn@spu.edu. (Deception Pass Bridge, photo by Jack Penland)
Whale Watching Tour:
Mystic Sea Charters is offering IFWTWA conference attendees a whale watching excursion for $49 (a 50% discount). The discount code for making reservations will be available after January 1, 2018, so check this web page after then for the discount code. The tour departs from Anacortes, which is about 30 minutes from The Coachman Inn in Oak Harbor. You will need a car to get to Anacortes for the tour. The tours run May 4, 5 and 6, with departure from Anacortes at 10:00 a.m. and return to Anacortes by 5:00 p.m. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis. Inexpensive, light fare is available on board. Once the discount code is available, call 1-800-308-9387 for reservations. (Orca, photo by Minette Layne CC Attrib 2.0)
Check Whidbey Camano Islands Tourism Website for a map of Whidbey Island and a full list of activities and attractions.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a rental location directly across the street from the Coachman Inn & Suites. Vehicles may be reserved for those who want to arrive early and explore the island on their own before the conference.
Pre- and Post-Conference Media Trips: IFWTWA regular members who are registered for the 2018 IFWTWA Conference may apply for pre- and post-conference media trips separately from conference registration. A post-conference media trip to Camano Island on May 9-11 has been confirmed; details and application will be posted on www.ifwtwa.org as soon as they are available. Additional pre- and post-conference media trip options are in the works; check back for more information.
IMPORTANT – Code of Conduct: IFWTWA membership prides itself on its professionalism and takes compliance with its prescribed code of conduct very seriously. All registered attendees of the 2018 IFWTWA Conference and associated media trips, whether members or non-members of IFWTWA, must review and comply with the IFWTWA Expectations of Conduct for Events and Media Trips. Any conference or media trip attendee in violation of the expectations outlined in the document may be immediately expelled from the conference or media trip without a refund. For IFWTWA members in violation, there may be further disciplinary consequences. Submission of a conference registration form and media trip application(s) infers prior review of, and agreement with, the IFWTWA Expectations Conduct for Events and Media Trips.