Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) – the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines – reported this week that tourists spent $693 million locally in 2016 — an increase of 4 percent over 2015. The annual study, compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates, shows the economic significance of the travel industry to the Seattle Southside area, local and state tax receipts and tourism employment. This is the sixth consecutive year of strong growth in the Seattle Southside travel industry. “We have a strong track record of demonstrating positive economic impact in Seattle Southside through a strategic investment in tourism,” said Katherine Kertzman, president and CEO of Seattle Southside. “The increased funding that is delivered through our RTA allows us to significantly develop our investments in marketing the destination, and Seattle Southside continues to thrive by every economic measure.” With 4,940 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $35 million generated in local tax receipts, this report shows how the travel industry is a key contributor to the economic well-being of the region. As the fourth-largest industry in Washington state, tourism supports small businesses, strengthens local economies, creates jobs and brings in additional tax revenues. The complete Dean Runyan Travel Impacts report is available here. Highlights from the report include:
- Travel spending in Seattle Southside increased by 4 percent from 2015 to 2016 (preliminary).
- Earnings and travel-generated tax receipts continue to increase.
- The overall trend in visitor volume corresponds to the trends in travel spending.
- Lodging sales continue to increase, and were $250 million in 2016.
- More than 80 percent of all visitor nights in Seattle Southside are attributable to hotel/motel stays. This percentage is much greater than for hotel/motel stays in King County and Washington state, overall.
- Tukwila has the greatest estimated visitor spending and SeaTac has almost 70 percent of all lodging sales, making the regional partnership key to the economic well-being of the region.
- Visitor air arrivals (domestic only) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have also increased for the sixth year in a row.
- An industry outlook shows more hotels coming to the region, which has the potential of lowering occupancy rates within the next few years due to the increase in supply.
- In 2016, Seattle Southside RTA experienced $40.13 in visitor spending for each dollar spent. The 2016 ROI will be reported at the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce Hospitality and Tourism Luncheon. See below for details.