Earlier this month, Travel Tacoma + Pierce County released data on the Pierce County tourism and hospitality industries, revealing all-time-highs. Since 2008 — the earliest data for tourism and hospitality recorded for the area — visitors spend 45.9 percent more money while they’re here, creating 13.5 percent more jobs and paying 55.3 percent more in taxes.

These jumps are undeniably substantial, and 2018 represented the best year for tourism and hotels in Pierce County’s history. Last year, 3.35 million visitors stayed overnight in Pierce County and funneled a record $1.19 billion of direct spending into the area’s economy.

“We’ve got a cluster of unique cities filled with art, culture and history situated between a glacial mountain and accessible saltwater shoreline, and the word is getting out about it,” Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma + Pierce County and Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission, said in a statement. “Everyone in Tacoma and Pierce County should love visitors as much as we do at Travel Tacoma. They show up, have a great time doing the same things we like to do, and then they leave with a memorable experience while making meaningful contributions to our local economy.”

Record high highlights from Dean Runyan Associates’ Travel Impacts Report on tourism in Pierce County include the following:

  • Tourism supported 12,580 jobs in Pierce County
  • Tourism earnings reached $370 million in Pierce County
  • Total taxes generated by tourism reached $132.9 million

The hotel industry, like the tourism industry, also broke records according to the STR Destination Report. There was a 4.9 percent increase in demand and averaged a 71.4 percent occupancy throughout the year. More people visiting has led to eight hotel projects that are currently underway or recently opened in the county, adding 1,045 rooms in 2019 and 2020.

Highlights from the STR Destination Report include the following:

  • Average daily room rate reached $103.33, a record high
  • Overall hotel revenue reached a Pierce County record of $162 million
  • A record 1,568,238 room-nights were sold in Pierce County hotels

To read more from Dean Runyan Associates’ Travel Impacts Report, click here.