Tourism is Washington’s fourth largest industry and impacts more than hotels, restaurants and destinations. It benefits retailers, outdoor recreation, state parks, ports and cities—and ultimately, the taxpayers of Washington. More than $1.8 billion in local and state tax revenues are generated directly from tourism. It’s the largest employer of women and minorities and is responsible for more than 170,500 jobs.

  • The total number of overnight person-trips (39.4 million) increased by 3.1% in 2015, similar to the preceding year, according to preliminary data compiled for the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) by Dean Runyan Associates in the report “State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume 2000-2015.”
  • Direct visitor spending in Washington was $20.7 billion in 2015, up 5.4% in current dollars over 2014. This compares with 6.8% growth in overall state taxable sales during the same period, according to figures released by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
  • WTA’s new research also reported on tourism employment and tax revenue. The travel and tourism industry supported more than 170,500 jobs in 2015, up 3.8% from 2014. Local and state travel-generated tax revenue was $1.8 billion, an 8% increase over 2014; this is equivalent to $650 in tax revenue for each Washington household. This includes $1.2 billion in tax revenues directly related to purchases by visitors and $610 million in tax revenues attributable to travel industry employees and businesses.

Our state’s expanding cruise industry benefits our region in a number of ways. Every time a homeport ship docks, it contributes $2.6 million to our local economy. According to 2015 data, local economic impact included:

  • $459 million in annual business revenue 
  • $17.6 million in annual state and local taxes
  • 3,740 jobs