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Kitsap travel organization invites large corporate groups to visit

Kitsap County may host many large groups from the Seattle area in the near future, like the 400 Microsoft employees slated to visit Port Orchard and the surrounding area for an appreciation day July 13.

“Based on what we've been told, we can expect to see other groups from Microsoft visiting the area," said Patricia Graf-Hoke, the executive director of the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau.

These events will benefit cities throughout Kitsap County, Graf-Hoke says, as demonstrated by the upcoming Microsoft visit.

The group will take an Argosy Cruise to and from Port Orchard marina, arriving around 10:30 a.m. and leaving around 4 p.m.

Volunteers will provide them with maps, literature and directions as they debark the boat, and Carter’s Chocolates will welcome them with fresh, local ice cream.

From there, events for the group include:

Microsoft has also opened tabs at Amy’s on the Bay in Port Orchard, Bremerton Bar and Grill and The Martini Side Bar in Manette.

“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.”

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