People ‘rediscovering what they love’ about Seattle as tourism recovers to near pre-pandemic levels

Aug 22, 2022, 11:48 AM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 11:48 am
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)...
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Seattle tourism is recovering in a big way this summer, with new data from the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) showing that the number of tourists in the city has gotten close to pre-pandemic levels over the last month.

The numbers released by DSA on Friday show downtown welcomed 2.9 million visitors in July, which was the highest monthly visitor total since the start of the pandemic. With a boom in visitors, the demand for hotel rooms downtown reached 94% of 2019 levels.

Downtown Seattle’s tourism bounces back while its office workers remain remote

James Sido, Media Relations Director, says that people are drawn back to Seattle for the same reasons people have always been attracted to the city, the atmosphere of the Puget Sound, and the culture of the city.

“Broadly speaking, I think the July economic recovery dashboard numbers affirm what we’ve long held to be true. The fundamental reasons that draw people to downtown Seattle are still here – the arts & culture, live music, sports, dining, shopping, and a stunning backdrop. There are assets here that are the envy of downtowns across the country.

With more than 434,000 visitors walking around downtown Seattle, July 16 saw the third-highest revenue day for hotels in the city’s history at $4.3 in revenue.

Despite the rising metrics, DSA said July saw Seattle office workers returning to downtown at only about 40% of 2019 totals.

At $6,783, Seattle has the second-highest average monthly salary for remote workers, according to recent data compiled by Teamwork. Seattle trails just San Francisco, Calif., while earning more than Arlington, W.Va., Dallas, Texas, and New York, N.Y.

“I would expect by late fall, a majority of downtown workers are in the office a majority of the week. That might mean three days a week for some folks or four,” Jon Scholes, the President, and CEO of DSA, said on the Gee and Ursula Show on KIRO Newsradio. “And it might not be eight to five. They may be showing up at 10 to skip the commute, but stay late and go to a game. And so, I think the commute patterns are going to shift. But at the end of the day, as we work our way out of this pandemic, a majority of workers are back downtown for a majority of the week.”

They did say that the employees returning to downtown have been at it’s highest since the start of the pandemic and are hopeful those numbers along with others will continue to rise.

“These hefty visitor numbers are before we have additional major drivers coming online, like the Convention Center expansion and the new Central Waterfront,” Sido said. “People are rediscovering what they love about this place and there’s more to come. There are challenges and we do need to ensure that downtown is clean, safe, and welcoming but our recovery is on the right path.”

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People ‘rediscovering what they love’ about Seattle as tourism recovers to near pre-pandemic levels