Experience Olympia & Beyond is celebrating the impact of travel on Thurston County’s economy in honor of the 35th annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 6-12). This annual recognition unites communities across the country to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
The theme of this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week, “Travel Then and Now,” highlights the travel industry’s history of economic impact in every corner of America, and its enduring ethos of welcoming travelers from near and far. Across Thurston County, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance.
“Travel and tourism is an important part of Thurston County’s economy,’ said Shauna Stewart, CEO of Experience Olympia & Beyond. “Tourism supports local jobs, generates local tax revenues and improves the lives of millions of visitors who visit our beautiful destination each year.”
Local tourism numbers will be announced at the Annual State of Tourism Meeting on May 22 at Great Wolf Lodge.
The national figures below are an important part of travel’s economic importance nationwide.
- Travel is a $2.4 trillion industry in the U.S.
- These visitors support 15.6 million American jobs—roughly 8.8 million direct travel jobs, and 6.8 million indirect and induced jobs.
- Travel-related spending generated $75.6 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2017.
In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being for residents and visitors of Thurston County. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. Using time off to travel with family is good for everyone, especially our children—kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults.
“Many aspects of the U.S. travel experience may have changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t: our industry’s enduring ethos of welcoming travelers from near and far,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Whether we’re talking about 1968 or 2018, welcoming visitors allows our industry to create travel jobs that have been a gateway to the middle class for millions—and they’re completely non-exportable, no matter how much the global economy changes. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re saluting travel’s long history as an economic engine in our country, and calling on our nation’s leaders to prioritize travel-friendly legislation, for the sake of millions of American workers.”