Home What's Brewing? Seattle Achieves Record Tourism Growth, Out-Paces U.S.

Seattle Achieves Record Tourism Growth, Out-Paces U.S.

seattlescitycapeSeattle’s tourism industry is celebrating an embarrassment of riches: record visitations, visitor spending, tax contributions and employment.

Overnight visitor volumes in the city and county has increased 3 percent in 2013 to 16.1 million, according to statistics provided to Visit Seattle by the national research firm Tourism Economics. This compares to a 2 percent growth in overnight visitations for the U.S. as a whole last year.

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Seattle’s 2013 visitors spent $5.7 billion in the city and county – an impressive increase of 7 percent. When indirect and induced impacts of this direct spending are calculated, tourism in Seattle generated an estimated $8.2 billion total economic impact. Spending was up from 2012 in all domestic and international categories measured – lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, transportation (local) and air transport.

Travelers in 2013 paid $769 million in state and local taxes (up 8 percent), and a total of $1 billion including federal tax revenues.

Jobs supported by travel spending also increased in 2013. There were some 65,959 travel related jobs (up 2 percent) in King County. These jobs represent 5.5 percent (1 in 18) of all jobs in the county.  Direct jobs paid $1.8 billion in total income. When indirect and induced impacts were included, tourism generated $2.8 billion in labor income. Tourism is a significant part of several industries, directly supporting 93 percent of employment in lodging, 44 percent of recreation and 21 percent of food and beverage employment.

“The performance of Seattle tourism has been striking,” said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics. “Visitor spending has expanded by more than 7 percent a year over the past four years, significantly outpacing the rest of the U.S.  It’s evident in the data that the tourism sector is enjoying a remarkable run of success in both domestic and international visitor markets.

Some other trends in Seattle travel include the following:

·  International markets hold one of the destination’s most exciting growth opportunities. Overseas inbound travel grew 10 percent at Sea-Tac International Airport in 2013, according to the Port of Seattle. International visitors account for 8.2 percent of Seattle’s total visitor volume but account for 18 percent of total visitor spending. International visitor spending grew 9.6 percent in 2013 according to today’s Tourism Economics research.

·  Seattle’s hotel market is strengthening as growth in demand is outpacing supply; rising occupancy rates pushed prices 4.3 percent higher last year and stronger demand and higher prices boosted revenues 8.4 percent.

·  Seattle has turned away more than 300 conventions representing nearly $1.6 billion in future business due to date availability at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), which ranks 55th in size nationally. Possible future development of a nearby sister convention facility in close proximity in conjunction with nearby private hotel development would ease the ability for meeting planners to assemble large city-wide hotel room blocks.

“  Seattle and the region are well positioned for growth and may very well out pace many other destinations and the U.S. as a whole in 2014,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle President & CEO. “However, as a destination we must work to ensure that we have adequate infrastructure to accommodate growth potential.” [24×7]