Trending toward success: a quick look at the impact of tourism | Visit Bellevue Washington
By Sharon Linton, Marketing and Communications Manager at Visit Bellevue Washington
It's no secret that business is booming in Bellevue - Microsoft, Expedia, and countless successful organizations ranging from startups to fashion designers call our city home. But did you know that in our little corner of Meydenbauer Center, the team at Visit Bellevue Washington has been hard at work on the business of Bellevue tourism? And we're excited to report that results point to a pretty successful effort.
At the end of April, we received information from 2013 that helps us track this effort, and found that year over year tax revenues are up 3.3 percent, visitor numbers are up 4.4 percent, and hotel occupancies are up 2.6 percent. Due to these across the board increases, visitor spending generated $6.9 million in tax revenues - that's $126 in annual tax savings for every Bellevue household.
And we're just getting started! This year we have lots of exciting news for visitors and locals alike. Stay tuned this summer as our blog will provide ongoing updates for events, entertainment and travel ideas.
To name a few for now:
Enjoy free live music throughout the city courtesy of the Live at Lunch series throughout downtown and Sips and Sounds at The Bravern; for those who are more cinematically inclined, free summer movies at Bellevue Downtown Park begin July 1.
New or enhanced destinations for a variety of visitors include the Bellevue Zip Tour and the recently renovated Bellevue Botanical Garden; a variety of posh new shops, including Gucci, Moncler and Hermes, will open this summer at The Bravern while The Bellevue Collection recently welcomed the Northwest's first Diane von Furstenburg.
The new Bellevue Marriott, slated to open October 2014, is evidence of our growing tourism economy. Upon completion, the new hotel will be the first Marriott in the state of Washington to pursue LEED certification.
It might be said that I have a pretty easy job. I get to share stories from the characters, amenities and events that make our city such a great place to live. Our team works to ensure that visitors know where to rent a kayak to explore the slough, or even when they might find blackberries during that paddle. We talk with business owners, retailers and hoteliers to ensure their events are buzzed about throughout the region. While this may sound like it's just a lot of fun, our work has a major impact on our community.
**Data sources include hotel occupancy rates from Smith Travel Research, estimates of visitor spending from Dean Runyan and other statistics provided by the Bellevue hotel community and the City of Bellevue.