The retail and tourism industries are closely tied in Washington State. Wherever tourists flock, retailers are sure to follow to serve their needs.
That’s why it was significant when David Blandford, interim Executive Director of the Washington Tourism Alliance, told state lawmakers that it could take years for the industry he represents to recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blandford told the Senate Special Committee on Economic Recovery:
- There has been a 75% reduction in visitor spending in the state this year, a drop of $4 billion.
- In tourist-rich Chelan County including Leavenworth, tourism has recovered only 20% of employment while 2,500 people remain unemployed.
- In downtown Seattle, an estimated 126 street-level businesses have closed since March. A combination of downtown workers remaining home, and cancellation of the summer cruise season have left downtown streets largely deserted.
The committee also heard that Wenatchee’s lodging tax revenue is down by 50% this year.
Read more about this on the online news site The Lens.