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Microsoft planners recommend Kitsap Peninsula as a tourism destination
The Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau's leaders would like to see large, corporate groups stop by the area, like the 400 Microsoft employees who visited July 13.
Sara Stevens, the Microsoft event planner who organized a day trip, says she’d recommend it.
“It was recommended to come over and do the kyaking and spa,” she said, “but talking to Patty Graf-Hoke (the executive director of the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau), we came up with so many more activities."
The group arrived at the Port Orchard Marina on an Argosy Cruise boat shortly after 10:30 a.m. and participated in a variety of activities throughout the day, including:
- a kayak trip from Port Orchard through the Sinclair Inlet to the salmon habitat in Chico with lunches by local restaurants followed by local brews at the Tracyton Public House-golf at the McCormick Woods Golf Course
- a “garden retreat” with food and wine tasting hosted by Eladan Gardens in Port Orchard-spa treatments at McCormick Woods, Isella Day Spa in downtown Bremerton and Rejuv Spa in Manette
- a day trip to Northwest Paintball Park in Central Kitsap with lunches by Ambrosia Catering
- tours of the USS Turner Joy as well as the Naval Museum and Memorial Fountain Park in Bremerton-rides on the historic Carlisle II from Port Orchard to Bremerton
- Microsoft also opened tabs at Amy’s on the Bay in Port Orchard, Bremerton Bar and Grill and The Martini Side Bar in Manette.
"I searched the Internet and didn't find anything," Stevens said, "but because Patty knows people on a personal level, she was able to make those connections."
It made sense to try to help the Microsoft group, Graf-Hoke explained.
"This is the first time a group this large from Microsoft has visited the area and it provides a perfect example of why it’s so important to educate planners about what the Kitsap Peninsula has to offer,” said Graf-Hoke. “We want these 400 guests to return with family and friends, and for Microsoft planners to see the Kitsap Peninsula as a great destination for events and multi-day business meetings.”
The city of Port Orchard awarded $5,000 to the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau for promotion and advertising Tuesday, and Graf-Hoke says, this is the type of thing the group is doing to promote local tourism.
“Our number one goal has been to impress the Microsoft planners that everyone is working together to ensure its employees have a memorable experience,” she said. “We want them to return as individual visitors and send their family and friends to Port Orchard and the Kitsap Peninsula."