MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle tourism dollars break records following All-Star Week, Taylor Swift

Mar 28, 2024, 3:48 PM

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour at Lumen Field on July 22, 20...

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour at Lumen Field on July 22, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

It was a record-setting year for dollars flowing into Seattle from tourists.

Visit Seattle said tourists spent $8.2 billion last year.

“When we think of visitors’ spending, we think primarily of big-box hotels, airlines, and things like that, but really, 80% of the industry is small businesses,” President and CEO of Visit Seattle, Tammy Canavan, told KIRO Newsradio.

She said those kinds of numbers are worth celebrating.

“It’s a lot of money. And I think that sometimes we forget just how much that is,” Canavan explained. “It’s such a big number that it sort of passes over your head.”

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Canavan explained that $787 million is spent on state and local taxes.

“So that offsets each household in King County by a significant amount, $800 and something dollars. The economic benefit is really important,” she said.

In a press release from Visit Seattle, the preliminary data indicated:
• A total of 37.8 million visitors came to Seattle and King County in 2023, a 9% increase from 2022 reaching 90.2% of 2019 levels.
• Visitors spent $8.2 billion in Seattle and King County in 2023, a 12.8% increase from 2022 and a 0.7% increase from 2019.
• Visitors paid $787 million in state and local taxes in 2023, a 12.5% increase from 2022 reaching 94.0% of 2019 levels. That amounts to a tax offset of $859 per household in King County in 2023, up from $775 in 2022 and steadily approaching the $965 peak of 2019.
• Tourism supported 65,486 jobs in Seattle and King County in 2023, a 7.7% increase from 2022 reaching 81.5% of 2019 levels.

During MLB All-Star Week (July 7-11), downtown hotel occupancies were about 95%. Downtown hotel revenues on those days were around $5.4 million.

Records were broken the weekend of July 21-23. Seattle hosted a combination of marquee events, including two Taylor Swift concerts, a Mariners home series versus the Blue Jays, six cruise ships, two sizable conventions, the Bite of Seattle food festival and Capitol Hill Block Party.

Downtown hotel revenues peaked for the year on Saturday, July 22 at $7.4 million, setting a new record for the city with a $2 million increase over the record Seattle set on June 17.

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“The Seattle metro region is special, and it’s growing. We’re taking action so it thrives for residents and visitors alike,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Canavan said we could see more records broken over the next couple of years.

“The next big huge mega-event will be the FIFA World Cup in 2026,” Canavan said. “That will be like nothing we’ve ever experienced before and won’t again unless they come back. It’s like the equivalent of ten Super Bowls.”

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here. 

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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