Visitors to Grays Harbor injected a record amount of money into the county’s coffers in 2016, according to numbers from the county’s tourism promotional agency.

A three percent motel/hotel tax is assessed for every visitor that stays within the county (excluding Ocean Shores and Westport, which collect their own taxes), explained Mike Bruner, manager of Grays Harbor Tourism.

“In 2008, the county collected $582,929 in 3 percent HM [hotel/motel] tax returns,” he said. “In 2015, the county collected $978,778. That is a massive increase and tells us that more and more people are visiting and staying in our area.”

For 2016, numbers are estimated to top $1 million collected.

“The increase from 2008 is close to half a million dollars just generated from that three percent hotel/motel tax,” he continues. “Every $30,000 of additional money generated through this tax represents an additional $1 million spent on overnight stays. And that’s just on accommodations.”

From 2014-2015, the difference in tax collected represented an increase of $1.15 million in overnight stay dollars spent in one year alone.

“The tourism industry is a huge contributor to our economic vitality. We need to all appreciate, understand and cultivate that in our community,” Bruner said.