Leisure Air Travel Picking Across West, Not At Pangborn Airport
Air travel patterns have been changing since the pandemic, and there's are challenges facing Wenatchee.
Travel to leisure markets in the western U.S. has rapidly picked up in the past three years with areas like Bend, Oregon getting much more airline service.
Air travel consultant Jack Penning says there are a lot of leisure options in this area, but there's been difficulty in packaging them together.
"We have a lot of great things to see, and a lot of people don't put the picture together of what there is to see here I think,” said Penning. "So, we haven't seen a big leisure impact."
He said markets in the west that have experienced a big increase in leisure travel have had focused outside advertising campaigns.
Penning is the Managing Partner with Volaire Aviation, which serves as an advisory consultant for the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority. The Port owns and operates Pangborn Memorial Airport.
The major increase in leisure travel has been across the west and southwest as well as Florida, and pockets in northern Wisconsin and Michigan which draw summertime visitors.
Air travel in the Midwest and Northeast has not recovered from the pandemic.
Penning said the last marketing campaign for Wenatchee amounted to $10,000 directed toward the San Francisco Bay Area. He said it brought 13 visitors a day for a time but failed to identify a calling card for the area.
“There’re so many different identities here that have such great brand identities that bringing it all together has been a challenge,” Penning said.
He said the Wenatchee market should make an effort to more clearly identify itself before further investing in marketing.
Penning made a presentation before Port commissioners recently, where Port CEO Jim Kuntz mentioned that there are resources available once Pangborn gets new airline service.
He said the Port had substantial marketing dollars that could be combined with money from local tourism groups.
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Gallery Credit: Heidi Kaye