Travel & Tourism Brought Over $10 Billion to Washington's Economy During 1999

“Travel and tourism accounted for more than $10 billion being injected into Washington’s economy this past year, according to the latest travel impact study released this week by Washington State Tourism, a unit of the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.The tourism industry impacts every county in the state, said Tourism Director Robin Pollard. Last year it generated an estimated $2.3 billion in payroll and directly supported 126,800 jobs statewide including 30,000 working proprietorships.The benefits of travel spending keep growing steadily and several rural communities are major winners, Pollard said.CTED officials estimate for every 1,000 residents in Washington, the travel industry generates 22 jobs on average. The figure reaches higher levels in some key counties, CTED noted, up to 134 jobs in San Juan County, 97 in Skamania, 66 in Jefferson, 65 in Pacific, 63 in Chelan, 48 in Okanogan, 44 in Grays Harbor, 41 in Kittitas, and 40 in Clallam County.This travel spending is not only being generated domestically but from overseas visitors as well, Pollard said. The tourism office released their latest Overseas Travel to Washington State study this week, covering the period of 1996 through 19989.Among states in the U.S., Washington ranks 14th in terms of overseas arrivals, so the state is a significant destination for both business and leisure travelers, Pollard said. Fifty-seven percent of all overseas travelers to Washington, excluding Canada and Mexico, are from Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany.Over the last nine years, spending by travelers has grown almost twice as fast as inflation, said CTED Director Martha Choe. This is good business for Washington and puts significant tax revenue in state and local coffers.In 1999, travel spending reportedly contributed $488 million in state tax revenue and an estimated $189 million in tax revenues for local jurisdictions. Lodging taxes alone increased almost 9 percent over 1998, and total travel spending since 1991 has increased nearly 5 percent annually, according to the study conducted by Dean Runyan Associates of Portland.”