Tourism helped drive Thurston County’s economy last year as roughly 1.2 million people visited in 2018 — that’s enough people to fill CenturyLink Field almost 17 times — according to Experience Olympia & Beyond, the region’s visitor and convention bureau.

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine, courtesy Experience Olympia & Beyond.

In 2018, the communities of Thurston County saw $10.4 million in local tax revenue as visitors ate at local restaurants, shopped, stayed overnight in hotels, and visited local attractions. It also drove $318 million in direct spending to local small businesses, cultural attractions, and more.

“Our job is to make it easy for the visitor to explore the destination by promoting the amazing experiences we have here. From biking to coffee tasting and waterfalls, we are proud of the beautiful region we are lucky to call home,” Shauna Stewart, CEO of Experience Olympia & Beyond, said in a statement.

Continued Stewart, “The beauty of what we do, is that it’s not just for visitors. Destination promotion is for the benefit and well-being of every person in the community. It is an essential community investment to develop opportunities and build quality of life for the people of Thurston County.”