Wednesday

Travel Association History

In 1932 The Olympic Peninsula Travel Association OPTA was formed by a small group of prominent Olympic Peninsula business owners on Washington State's scenic peninsula after the completion of the Highway 101 loop, which joined communities together along the newly constructed road. Incorporated in 1933 as the Olympic Peninsula Resort and Hotel Assoc. (OPRHA), under the leadership of Bill Thorniley was one of the organizations largely responsible for making the Olympic Peninsula a nationally recognized vacation destination. In 1967 the organization changed it’s name to the Olympic Peninsula Travel Association in an attempt to strengthen its ability to represent a broader scope of businesses in the region. Later in the 1980's OPTA's membership began to drop off and as a result OPTA elected to hire Dan Youra as the executive director, who in 2001 took over complete ownership and management of the organization.

With Dan Youra at the helm for over the past 25 years, OPTA still continues to promote the Olympic Peninsula with its websites and the OPTA Olympic Peninsula Directory and Map which is celebrating its 75th anniversary edition in 2008. OPTA continues to play an important role in the Olympic Peninsula's tourism development. Washington State Lieutenent Governor, Brad Owen, a long time resident of the Olympc Peninsula recognized OPTA as the "oldest existing member-funded organization in the State of Washington". The organization is commended by Washington State Attorney General Rob Mckenna, House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler and Washington State Director of Tourism Marsha Massey. OPTA's familiar green, triangle-shaped logo has been known since the 1930s as the "Welcome Sign of the Olympics" and is famous for enticing travelers with catch phrases such as "Come Tour the New Olympic Loop" and "See the Olympic Peninsula - Americas Last Great Frontier." OPTA carries on those same traditions today by continuing to help Olympic Peninsula businesses by tirelessly promoting the region.

Past presidents of the organization have been LeRoy Tipton, executive director of Grays Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Louann Yager, Port Angeles Visitor Center, Gary Wood, general manager of Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park.

The association posts short videos on its website documenting the history of the organization and also promoting regions around the Olympic Peninsula that are often most popular with visitors.

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