VANCOUVER, Wash. — A recent report conducted by national travel research firm Tourism Economics for State of Washington Tourism (SWT) showed visitor spending and volume in Clark County, Wash. exceeded 2019 data for the first year since COVID-19 depleted the tourism industry.
Total direct sales from visitors amounted to $674.1 million in 2022, which is 30.5 percent higher than the previous year and 21.8 percent higher than 2019. Clark County saw 5.16 million total visits in 2022, which is 24.8 percent more than 2021 and 11.9 percent more than 2019.
“For the past few years, 2019 has been used as a benchmark for so many aspects of our professional and even personal lives,” said Cliff Myers, President and CEO of Visit Vancouver WA. “To see numbers that go beyond pre-pandemic levels, in a way, feels like we made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t stop the work we are doing, but it allows us to look to the opportunities of the future.”
According to the report, the number of jobs in Clark County sustained by tourism, including indirect and induced benefits, equals that of 2019 at nearly 7,400 total employment—an increase of 678 jobs from 2021. Total state and local tax revenue increased 16.3 percent to $95.7 million, up 6.2 percent from 2019.
In a news release earlier this week, SWT noted financial gains being undermined by inflation and not keeping pace with other states in terms of recovery, creating opportunity for significant growth at the state level. Locally, Smith Travel Research (STR) data has shown hotel occupancy dipping below 2022 levels for the past three months (Feb.-Apr. 2023), with ADR averaging $13 more than the previous year.
Nonetheless, the entire industry is committed to moving #TravelForward—the theme for the 40th anniversary of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), which concludes this Saturday. U.S. Travel Association reports that in 2022 travel spending generated $2.6 trillion in economic output and supported nearly 15 million American jobs.
The Tourism Economics report, titled Economic Impacts of Visitors in Washington State, compiled survey data from Longwoods International; the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by industry; STR lodging performance data; tax collections, including lodging tax receipts; US Census business sales by industry and seasonal second homes; and international travel data for overseas, Canadian, and Mexican travel to the US, based on aviation, survey and credit card information.
About Visit Vancouver WA
Visit Vancouver WA is the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Vancouver and the surrounding Clark County, Washington. The nonprofit competitively markets the region as a place to visit for leisure, a venue for sports events, and a destination for meetings, conventions, and group travel. The organization’s primary mission is to increase visitor spending in the area to support and encourage economic growth and vitality to Vancouver, Washington’s valued local community. For more information call 360-750-1553 or visit www.VisitVancouverWA.com.