2017 Dean Runyan Preliminary Report Overview

Washington State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume, 2000-2017

Preliminary Report by Dean Runyan Associates, April 2018

Overview

The Washington State economy continued to see robust growth in 2017, which stimulated in-state consumer confidence and many industries in the state. As Washington residents currently comprise two thirds of all trips to destinations within the state, tourism visitations, expenditures and visitor-generated tax revenues grew. However, the pace of overall tourism growth has slowed.

Overall visitation in Washington increased 3.6 percent, compared to 3.8 percent growth the previous year, to 40.1 overnight person trips, as in-state residents help to sustain visits.

Travel spending increased 7.0 percent in $21.4 billion in current dollars, 5.8 percent in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars in 2017, buoyed by robust hotel occupancies (+3.0 percent) and motor fuel prices (+15 percent), in-state consumer confidence and other factors. Strong hotel occupancies in the state’s urban centers were driving factors in this growth, as they maintain the majority of the state’s accommodations inventory (i.e. King County comprises 53 percent). Seattle saw record hotel occupancy of 84.2 percent in 2017.

Visitor-generated Tax Receipts

State and local visitor-generated tax receipts increased 4.8 percent to $1.8 billion in 2017.

Travel generated employment

Jobs supported by tourism increased 2.8 percent to 177,000 in 2017.

 International Tourism

While Sea-Tac International Airport reported record passenger volumes and 5.4 percent growth in international passengers in 2017, spending by foreign visitors in Washington decreased slightly (2 percent) due the strength of the U.S. dollar. Overseas inbound tourism to the U.S. has seen percentage declines since 2015 and the nation is beginning to see market share decline due to the strong U.S. dollar, national political rhetoric and questions about immigration and travel policy changes.

 Business and Competitive Landscape in 2018

Competing western states continue to invest significantly in tourism as a driver of jobs, economic impact and relief for communities that incur natural disasters and other crises.

 

Dean Runyan State Report Overview

Washington State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume, 2000-2016 – Preliminary Dean Runyan Associates April 2017

Overview

Summary The Washington State economy saw robust growth in 2016, which stimulated in-state consumer confidence and many industries in the state.

As Washington residents currently comprise two thirds of all trips to destinations within the state, tourism visitations, expenditures and visitor-generated tax revenues grew. The pace of overall tourism growth slowed, however, and Washington has dropped in stature from the state’s fourth largest industry to fifth largest.

• Overall visitation in Washington increased modestly (1.7 percent), compared to 3.2 percent growth the previous year and 2.5 percent visitation growth in Oregon in 2016. • While state residents are helping sustain tourism in their own back yard, Washington is failing to attract out-of-state visitors at comparable rates to competing states. • While Sea-Tac International Airport reported record passenger volumes and 11.1 percent growth in international passengers in 2016, spending by foreign visitors in Washington decreased slightly due the strength of the U.S. dollar or competition from other U.S. destinations. • Tourism disparity between Washington’s urban and rural counties continues. Compound average annual tourism growth between 2010 and 2016 shows that King, Pierce and other urban counties are as much as 50 percent above their long-term growth levels, in stark contrast to most other counties in the state which are at or below those growth levels. • Travel spending and employment grew at 4.4 percent, respectively, buoyed by robust hotel occupancies in Seattle and other urban centers, an 8 percent reduction in motor fuel prices, instate consumer confidence and other factors.

Tourism Snapshot – preliminary $21.4 billion Visitor expenditures 40.1 million Overnight person trips $1.8 billion State and local visitor-generated tax receipts 177,000 Jobs supported by tourism throughout the state

Business and Competitive Landscape in 2017 • Competing western states continue to invest significantly in tourism as a driver of jobs, economic impact and relieve for communities that incur natural disasters and other crises. Oregon plans to double its state tourism budget over the coming biennium to $76 million. • The position of the U.S. dollar, travel security and U.S. immigration policy are expected to continue to soften inbound business from overseas markets to the U.S. Some destinations have launched overseas advertising campaigns to counteract these challenges.