Seattle likely to lose millions as 'Ichiro Effect' moves to NYon July 25, 2012 @ 4:27 am (Updated: 9:40 am - 7/25/12 )
That number fell to 64,000 in 2011, but that's still more than double the tourists from China, Seattle's second- highest tourist country.
Tom Norwalk, the president the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the Ichiro Effect is considerable.
"The word I'd use is gigantic," Norwalk said. "His impact on Seattle and our region, from a standpoint of Japanese tourism business, has just been phenomenal."
Restaurants, hotels, and retail shops all recognized the Ichiro Effect and they catered to it. But Ichiro didn't just impact the service industry. His popularity in Japan also meant investment dollars in our region and the rest of the U.S.
Japanese companies started investing in the Mariners and then Major League Baseball after Ichiro proved he could make it in American baseball. With his success, other Japanese players followed. There are now about two dozen playing in the Big Leagues and you can see ads for Japanese companies in ballparks across the country.
Dale Watanabe, the Executive Director of the Japan America Society in Washington, wonders if all those dollars will disappear with Ichiro now in a Yankee uniform.
"I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens," he said. "Does that carry on or does New York get some of those tourists because of that or do people in Japan still choose to come here?"
The Mariners still have two good Japanese players on the team, but Hisashi Iwakuma and Munenori Kawasaki are not Ichiro. They will have a hard time generating the same interest in Japan.
What Are They Building?
It's hard not to notice a cluster of construction cranes over Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood
Car Prowl Hot Spots
A new Seattle police study shows where you're most likely to get car prowled
Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.