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HomeMICE IndustryVisit Seattle celebrates record-setting $8.2bn in visitor spending at Annual Meeting 

Visit Seattle celebrates record-setting $8.2bn in visitor spending at Annual Meeting 

Visit Seattle

Unveiled 2023 tourism data shows positive growth from 2022, either surpassing or making significant progress toward pre-pandemic levels.

SEATTLE – Visit Seattle, the official destination marketing organization for Seattle and King County, unveiled preliminary visitation data and downtown hotel performance data for 2023 at their Annual Meeting. Nearly 450 tourism and hospitality professionals, community partners, and elected officials – including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell – attended the gathering at the historic SIFF Cinema Downtown.
The preliminary visitation data, anticipated to be finalized in April, indicated that:
  • A total of 37.8 million visitors came to Seattle and King County in 2023, a 9% increase from 2022 reaching 90.2% of 2019 levels.
  • Visitors spent $8.2 billion in Seattle and King County in 2023, a 12.8% increase from 2022 and 0.7% increase from 2019.
  • Visitors paid $787 million in state and local taxes in 2023, a 12.5% increase from 2022 reaching 94.0% of 2019 levels. That amounts to a tax offset of $859 per household in King County in 2023, up from $775 in 2022 and steadily approaching the $965 peak of 2019.
  • Tourism supported 65,486 jobs in Seattle and King County in 2023, a 7.7% increase from 2022 reaching 81.5% of 2019 levels.
Downtown hotel performance data for 2023 was also encouraging:
  • Occupancy came in at 68.6%, a 5.8% increase from 2022 reaching 85.9% of pre-pandemic levels.
  • The average daily room rate (ADR) was $233.69, a 5.5% increase from 2022 and 9.5% increase from 2019.
  • Revenue was $898.1 million, a 15% increase from 2022 and 0.5% increase from 2019.
“Seattle continues to be a desirable destination for travelers around the globe, despite the challenges that are still affecting the tourism industry,” said Tammy Canavan, President and CEO of Visit Seattle. “We celebrate 2023’s accomplishments alongside our tourism and hospitality partners. Our entire mission is to execute targeted initiatives that grow the convention, international, cruise, and domestic leisure markets.”
In 2023, Seattle experienced significant growth in visitation due to various noteworthy events and developments. The opening of Seattle Convention Center’s Summit building reaffirmed the city’s standing as a leader in the economic, scientific, and cultural spheres by hosting highly coveted groups such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation; the Committee on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, respectively. A strong summer featured a record-breaking cruise season and several marquee events with the fall and winter months being supported by Visit Seattle-captained creative campaigns. Such initiatives include the Refract glass art experience, the Cloudbreak Music Festival, and Seattle Museum Month.
Additional data pertaining to key tourism moments is available below.
  • During the week of June 11-17, downtown Seattle hotels’ occupancy rate of 86.8% was the highest in the nation, according to a ranking of the top 25 markets by STR, a trusted global research company widely used in the travel industry. Saturday, June 17, when George Strait performed at Lumen Field, was the first day in city history to exceed $5 million in downtown hotel revenue.
  • During MLB All-Star Week (July 7-11), downtown hotel occupancies were 95.8% and 95.3% on Monday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 11, respectively. Downtown hotel revenues on those days generated $5.38 million and $5.4 million, respectively, breaking the previous record of $5.17 million set weeks earlier on June 17. The series of events held throughout MLB All-Star Week are estimated to have generated more than $50 million in economic impact for the region.
  • On the record-breaking weekend of July 21-23, Seattle hosted a combination of marquee events, including two Taylor Swift concerts, a Mariners home series versus the Blue Jays, six cruise ships, two sizable conventions, the Bite of Seattle food festival, and Capitol Hill Block Party. Downtown hotel revenues peaked for the year on Saturday, July 22 at $7.4 million, setting a new record for the city with an impressive $2 million increase over the record Seattle set on June 17. Downtown hotel occupancy was 97.8% on July 22 and 95% on July 23. The average daily room rate (ADR) for a downtown hotel room was $495 on July 22 and $402 on July 23.
  • STR data shows that for seven of the top ten revenue days for downtown hotels in 2023, Seattle Convention Center-hosted groups had significant impact on the positive results. Special events, such as concerts or the MLB All-Star Week, impacted five of those top ten days. 
Reflecting on the importance of preserving and developing our area to enhance the visitor experience, King County Executive Dow Constantine said at Annual Meeting, “The Seattle metro region is special, and it’s growing. We’re taking action so it thrives for residents and visitors alike – from the new light rail lines which will carry millions of people quickly and sustainably, to the conservation and restoration of our mountains, streams, and green spaces. These investments will improve our community for generations to come.”
Speaking to the importance of Visit Seattle’s mission, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said, “Our Emerald City and the broader Pacific Northwest region is truly a gem we should all take pride in. Tourism is one of our most critical economic drivers, which is why I signed the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area legislation into law to increase our ability to promote Seattle to the world. From conventions to cruises, concerts to leisure and family travel, Seattle is a world-class city with something to offer everyone. I applaud Visit Seattle for being strong partners in this work bringing Seattle to the world, and in return, the world to Seattle.” 
The Visit Seattle team paired its 2023 tourism update with a review on its plans for 2024 and beyond. Other program highlights included a keynote speech from biogenetics scientist, perfumer, wellness entrepreneur, and Olympic skier Michelle Roark, as well as an Alaska Airlines ticket drawing, and SIFF Cinema Downtown’s signature chocolate popcorn.
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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.