According to new numbers from Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, tourists spent $693 million in the region in 2016, an increase of 4 percent over 2015 spending.

The annual study, compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates, shows the economic significance of the travel industry to the cities of Des Moines, Tukwila and Seatac through local and state tax receipts, tourism employment and other factors. This is the sixth consecutive year of strong growth in the Seattle Southside travel industry.

“We have a strong track record of demonstrating positive economic impact in Seattle Southside through a strategic investment in tourism,” said Katherine Kertzman, president and CEO of Seattle Southside. “The increased funding that is delivered through our RTA allows us to significantly develop our investments in marketing the destination, and Seattle Southside continues to thrive by every economic measure.”

There were 4,940 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $35 million generated in local tax receipts. Specific to Des Moines, visitors spent $42 million in 2016, with 320 people working in the tourism industry and $2.1 million earned through local taxes.

The numbers also show an efficient year for Seattle Southside RTA. In 2016, Seattle Southside RTA experienced $40.13 in visitor spending for each dollar spent.