May 10, 2021 / Dave Gallagher / Bellingham Herald

A different kind of tourist is driving Whatcom County’s tourism rebound

As Whatcom County continues to inch back to a post-pandemic economy, one of the hardest-hit industries sees signs of recovery.

But, instead of visitors from all over the world, Seattle-area visitors and even locals are looking to Whatcom County for a nice weekend getaway and a first step to resuming leisure travel.

Local hotel occupancy rates are moving closer to pre-pandemic levels. According to data collected for Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, Bellingham’s hotel occupancy rate was 55.6% in March, up from 34.5% in March 2020 when the pandemic first started taking hold.

Across all of Whatcom County including Bellingham, the hotel occupancy rate was 50.5% in March, up from 32% in March 2020. The national average hotel occupancy rate in recent pre-pandemic years was around 60%.

Hotel Bellwether Aerial 2
As Whatcom County prepares for the summer tourism season, places like the Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham are noticing more bookings from people from the Seattle area as well as from local residents looking for a staycation option. 

Read full article here: Bellingham Herald
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        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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