April 25, 2016
SEATTLE – Statistics released today show record visitor volume, expenditures, tax contributions and travel-related employment for Seattle and King County in 2015. The positive impact numbers were released by Visit Seattle and its national research firms, Tourism Economics and Longwoods International, today at the Visit Seattle annual meeting, held before 800 tourism professionals, elected officials and national industry speakers at the Sheraton Seattle hotel in downtown Seattle.
A total of 38.1 million visitors came to the city and county in 2015, up 2.6 percent over the previous year. Overnight visitor volumes increased 2.3 percent to 19.7 million while total day visitors increased 3 percent to 18.3 million.
Total visitors spent $6.8 billion in the city and county in 2015 – an impressive increase of 5.8 percent over the previous year. When indirect and induced impacts of this direct spending are calculated, tourism in Seattle generated an estimated $9.7 billion total economic impact.
Visitors paid $692 million in state and local taxes in 2015, and a total of $1 billion including federal tax receipts – up 7.9 percent in 2014. These tax revenues offset the average household tax burden in the city and county by $855.
Tourism kept pace with overall job growth in the city and county in 2015, outpacing the state and U.S. There were 73,018 travel related jobs (up 3.4 percent) in Seattle and King County. These jobs represent 5.8 percent of all employment in the county (1 in 17 jobs). Direct jobs paid $2.1 billion in income; when indirect and induced impacts were included, tourism generated $3.4 billion in labor income.
“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 five 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:
“Seattle and the region are well positioned for continued growth and may very well out pace many other destinations and the U.S. as a whole in 2016,” 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. Critical civic initiatives include construction of the Washington State Convention Center’s additional facility, new hotel development, the Sea-Tac Airport Master Plan, Central Waterfront development and region-wide transportation enhancements.”
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit www.visitseattle.org.
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