Tourism Brings Jobs, Tax Benefits to All Washingtonians
OLYMPIA – In 2007, visitors to Washington spent a record $14.8 billion in the state, according to a report released by the Washington Tourism Office and the Dept. of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED).
Travel and tourism is one of the most important industries in Washington. Spending by visitors to the state – on lodging, food services, recreation, transportation and retail – supports jobs for Washingtonians and contributes tax revenue for state and local governments.
“Washington has so much to offer every type of traveler. Whether you want to explore our cities, tour our wineries, learn about our history or connect with nature, every traveler can find something unique about Washington that makes it their perfect destination,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “I encourage all travelers to come experience Washington in 2008.”
Gov. Gregoire in 2007 requested, and signed into law, historic legislation that doubled state funding for tourism promotion through a public-private partnership and created a state Tourism Commission to develop a long-term strategic tourism plan.
“Clearly, tourism is economic development,” said Juli Wilkerson, Director of CTED. “People want to come to visit Washington and, when they get here, they spend money in local communities and help drive the economy of our state.”
Noted in the report:
With a nearly $3 billion annual payroll, travel ranks third among export-oriented industries in Washington. Aerospace ranks number one and software comes in at number two.
The Washington travel industry generates tax benefits for Washingtonians. Travel spending accounted for nearly $975 million in local and state taxes in 2007 and visitors to the state generated $250 of tax revenue for each Washington family.
The Washington travel industry generates jobs. 149,800 jobs were directly generated by travel spending last year, representing approximately 3.8 percent of all jobs in Washington
The performance of the overall Washington travel industry in 2007 exceeded the U.S. travel industry. Visitor spending reached $14.8 billion, a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year. Travel spending in Washington has increased by 7.4 percent annually since 2002.
The Washington travel industry benefits all of Washington. Travel spending generates more than 15 percent of local sales and lodging taxes in fourteen of Washington's non-urban counties; in 13 non-urban counties, travel-generated employment accounts for over 6 percent of the total workforce.