Whatcom County Travel Impacts

Whatcom County Travel Impacts 1991-2015p
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Summary*

Visitors to Whatcom County generate
over $47.5 million in state and local taxes!
Tourism supports 6,610 local jobs!
Direct county-wide visitor spending reaches $583.9 million!

Whatcom County Travel Impacts

• In 2015, the direct county-wide traveler spending reached $583.9 million!
• Destination spending throughout Whatcom County reached a record $489.9 million in 2015– a 4% increase over 2014.
• At $94 million, other annual travel expenditures – which includes air travel, ground transportation, travel arrangement and reservation services, and convention and trade show organizers – reflects an 18% decrease in revenues over 2014.
• Spending by commodity purchased showed accommodations with the largest increase at 8%, followed by food service (up 7%), food stores (up 5%), recreation/entertainment/arts (up 4%) and retail sales (up 3%).
• Transportation and gas showed a decline – down 10% over 2014 – which is reflective of several factors including lower gas prices and BLI passenger load reduction.
• Whatcom County ranks 5th in the state in terms of visitor spending revenues (behind King, Spokane, Pierce, Snohomish).
• The Bellingham-Whatcom County Visitor Industry supported 6,610 jobs in 2015 – generating local earnings in excess of $144.6 million.
• Visitors to Whatcom County contributed $15.4 million in local (city and county) taxes in 2015. They also generated $32.1 million in state tax receipts during the same time period.
• Persons staying in commercial lodging (hotel, motel, B&B, etc) account for slightly over 60% of all visitor spending.
• If every resident household in Whatcom County encouraged one additional overnight visitor this year, it would generate 209 additional local jobs and would pump an additional $16.1 million into our local economy.

Washington State Travel Impacts

• Travel spending throughout Washington State was $20.7 billion in 2015.
• The travel industry supported over 170,500 jobs with earnings of $6.37 billion in 2015.
• Travel spending generated nearly $3 billion in local and state revenue.
• Pleasure seekers account for the highest percentage of travel spending, followed by visiting friends and family, and business travel.
• Visitors who stayed overnight in commercial lodging (hotels, motels, resorts and B&B’s) represent approximately one-half of all visitor spending.
• Travel and tourism is one of the most important “export-oriented” industries in Washington.

*Compiled from Washington State, County Travel Impacts 1991-2015p prepared by Dean Runyan Associations for Washington Tourism Alliance & Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

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