Seattle Sees Eighth Consecutive Year of Record Tourism
April 16, 2018 9:36am
Results celebrated at the 2018 Annual Meeting on Global Meetings Industry Day
SEATTLE – Statistics released today show record visitor volume, expenditures, tax contributions and travel-related employment for Seattle and King County in 2017 for the eighth year in a row. The results were released by Visit Seattle at its 2018 Annual Meeting at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel April 12.
Visit Seattle President & CEO Tom Norwalk and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan welcomed more than 700 tourism and business professionals to the event held purposefully on Global Meetings Industry Day. Addresses were made by meetings industry thought-leader Michelle Mason, President and CEO of Association Forum and Robert Reid, National Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad.
A total of 39.9 million visitors came to the city and county in 2017, up 2.6 percent from the previous year, according to the Visit Seattle report, which was created in conjunction with its national research firms, Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. Overnight visitors increased 3.9 percent to 20.8 million.
Those visitors spent $7.4 billion in the city and county in 2017 – an impressive increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year. When indirect and induced impacts of this direct spending are calculated, tourism in Seattle generated an estimated $10.7 billion total economic impact.
Visitors paid $762 million in state and local taxes in 2017, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous year. Collectively, visitors paid $1.1 billion including federal taxes. These tax revenues offset the average annual household tax burden in the city and county by $916.
Tourism kept pace with overall job growth in the city and county in 2017, outpacing the state and U.S. There were 76,062 travel related jobs (up by 2.7 percent) in Seattle and King County. These jobs represent 5.6 percent of all employment in the county or one of every 18 jobs. About 31 percent of those jobs were related to food and beverage services, 20 percent were related to lodging, 15 percent were related to recreation and 9 percent were related to retail. Direct jobs paid $2.3 billion in income; when indirect and induced impacts were included, tourism generated $3.6 billion in labor income.
“We are extremely encouraged by these strong tourism statistics and the compound growth which has occurred over the past eight years,” Visit Seattle President & CEO Tom Norwalk said. “We have a vibrant city with much to offer domestic and international visitors and I am proud of the work that our team and our partners at Visit Seattle do to fulfill an important segment of our economy. By working together, we have come up with fresh and engaging ways to spark visitors’ desires to experience our city for themselves and we’ll continue to do that in 2018 and beyond.”
Some other trends in Seattle travel include the following:
Seattle continues to turn away more convention business than it can book due to date availability at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC). Currently, WSCC is the smallest convention center of any major city on the West Coast. Development of an additional convention facility one block north, and in conjunction with the adjacent 1,260-room Hyatt Regency slated to open this fall, will improve Seattle’s competitive position. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin this summer with completion projected in 2021.
“We continue to be optimistic about the future for international and domestic tourism in Seattle,” Norwalk added. “However, we’re constantly reminded that travel and the tourism industry face ongoing political and economic challenges that remind us that national security and legitimate international travel are not mutually exclusive. We also know funding for regional infrastructure and capacity development, as well as finding sustainable solutions to Seattle’s homeless and street scene crisis, remain top priorities to ensure a future of sustainable growth in tourism.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine presented the 2018 Seattle Tourism Ambassador of the Year to four recipients. They are:
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Visit Seattle has served as the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Seattle and King County for more than 50 years. A 501(c)(6) organization, Visit Seattle enhances the economic prosperity of the region through global destination branding along with competitive programs and campaigns in leisure travel marketing, convention sales and overseas tourism development. Nearly 40 million annual visitors spend $7.4 billion in the city and county each year. The economic power of travel and tourism generates more than 76,000 Seattle area jobs and contributes $762 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Visit visitseattle.org.
Contact: Kauilani Robinson
Contact: Chantelle Lusebrink
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