May 21, 2018—Tacoma, Washington — 2017 was the sixth consecutive year of increased overnight visitor volume and visitor spending, leading to records in both categories, according to a report released today by Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, the region’s official destination marketing organization. The county also saw record numbers of tourism-related jobs and visitor-paid taxes collected.
Pierce County welcomed 3,271,000 overnight visitors in 2017, a 5.7 percent increase over 2016, according to the annual Travel Impacts Study by Dean Runyan Associates. The report showed visitor spending in Pierce County rose 8.8 percent to $1.23 billion, and tourism generated 12,350 jobs comprising $341 million in earnings. Visitors to Pierce County also paid a record $127.6 million in combined state and local taxes.
“Whether it’s for a concert, a conference, a weekend getaway or a trip to Mount Rainier, we’re thrilled that overnight visitors keep finding reasons to visit Pierce County,” said Bennish Brown, President and CEO of Travel Tacoma + Pierce County. “When they visit, they’re spending money at local businesses, helping create local jobs and paying taxes that go to fund our local schools, roads and emergency services. On behalf of the local tourism community, we appreciate them coming to this region, and we encourage Pierce County residents to join us in welcoming them.”
Travel Tacoma + Pierce County also released 2017 data from Pierce County hotels in aggregate, showing that the hotel industry in Pierce County thrived last year. According to the STR, Inc. Destination Report, hotel occupancy (+2.6 percent to 70.1 percent), average daily room rate (+3.4 percent to $100.30), revenue per available room (+6.1 percent to $70.33) and overall hotel revenue (+9.3 percent) were all at their highest levels since the county started tracking hotel data in 2008.
In terms of hotel inventory, the opening of Home2 Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites in DuPont and TownePlace Suites in Lakewood contributed to a three percent growth in hotel room supply. Further hotel developments in Lakewood, as well as the anticipated opening of McMenamins Elks Lodge in early 2019 and the Marriott Tacoma Convention Center Hotel in 2020 in downtown Tacoma will add supply in coming years.
“On days when there was a big event at the Tacoma Dome, a large convention or a sizeable sporting event, we saw huge spikes in occupancy – or as we call it “compression” -- across all parts of the county,” Brown said. “Sometimes, when all the stars aligned, this meant being completely sold out throughout the county.”
Travel Tacoma + Pierce County is the official destination marketing organization for Tacoma + Pierce County, Washington. Accredited by Destination Marketing Association International. For more information, visit www.TravelTacoma.com.