Seattle and King County saw record visitor volume, expenditures, tax contributions and travel-related employment for Seattle and King County in 2019 for the tenth year in a row.
The results were released at Visit Seattle’s 2020 Annual Meeting at Benaroya Hall on Feb. 24.
Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk and Visit Seattle Board of Directors Chair and General Manager of the Sheraton Grand Seattle Keri Robinson welcomed more than 500 tourism and business professionals to the annual event. The program also included guest speaker Tim Burgess, former Seattle City Councilmember and interim mayor. This year’s keynote conversation took place between Christina Tosi, the two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, owner, founder and CEO of Milk Bar and Brian Canlis of Seattle’s famed Canlis restaurant on Queen Anne. The meeting also included a special musical performance by the Seattle Symphony.
Preliminary 2019 estimates for topline metrics indicate that a total of 41.9 million visitors came to the city and county in 2019, up 2.3 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 percent to 21.9 million.
Those visitors spent $8.1 billion in the city and county in 2019 – an impressive increase of 3.6 percent from the previous year. Visitors paid $837.5 million in state and local taxes in 2019, an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous year.
Tourism related jobs also grew in the city and county in 2019; there were 80,317 travel related jobs (up by 2.4 percent) in Seattle and King County. Final data from the study will be released in early May.
“We are excited by 10 consecutive years of growth in Seattle and King County tourism,” Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk said. “However, we know how fragile tourism is as global events directly impact lives and business in Seattle and our region. The scenario changes daily but our industry is always looking forward and investing in tourism marketing for our future. We hope that with Seattle’s compelling infrastructure projects, unique cultural experiences and our incredible natural beauty coupled with the hard work by our partners, civic and city leaders and our dynamic team at Visit Seattle – we will continue to create travel inspiration for visitors.”
Visit Seattle’s top accomplishment in 2019
Shining Sales Moment for Meetings and Conventions
2019 was a record year in future business booked for Seattle. Business booked through 2028 is expected to have an economic impact of $798 million with nearly 800,000 total room nights booked.