It’s no secret that tourism industry has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, but the recently released 2021 tourism economic impacts numbers show that travel is making a strong recovery in the Tri-Cities.
Visitor spending in the Tri-Cities exceeded $489 million in 2021, a 41-percent increase over 2020, and only 1.5% away from the Tri-Cities’ best year, which was 2019. Spending was up in all categories measured – lodging, food and beverage, transportation, recreation and retail.
“The proof is in the numbers; people love to visit the Tri-Cities and they’re excited to include our community in their vacation plans as they return to travel,” said Michael Novakovich, President & CEO of Visit Tri-Cities. “We know the Tri-Cities is an amazing place to live, work and play thanks to our great weather, rivers, outdoor recreation, culinary and agricultural experiences, golf, wine and more. But it’s so rewarding to know that visitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest enjoy our unique and vibrant region.”
Visitor spending in 2021 resulted in $51 million in local and state tourism-generated sales tax revenue. The tax revenue generated by visitors helps fund police and fire, teachers and schools, the maintenance of our roadways and the beautification of our parks and reduces individual Tri-Citians household tax burden by over $500. In short, the visitor economy enhances quality of life that touches every single Tri-Citian.
The impact of tourism goes beyond visitor spending.
“As tourism grows in the Tri-Cities region, it strengthens the local economy, fuels prosperity and generates meaningful employment opportunities,” said Novakovich. “In fact, tourism is one of the region’s largest and strongest economic sectors, contributing more than 4,739 jobs.”
The Economic Impacts of Visitors in Washington State Report is a compilation of survey data from Longwoods International; the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by industry; STR lodging performance data; tax collections, including lodging tax receipts; US Census business sales by industry and seasonal second homes; and international travel data for overseas, Canadian and Mexican travel to the US, based on aviation, survey and credit card information.
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