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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Tourism
October 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Port of Seattle turns in record cruise year

The cruise season has wound down with a record 933,900 revenue passengers moving through the two cruise terminals at the Port of Seattle. That translates into approximately $416 million in annual business revenue, $18 million in state and local taxes and 4,319 jobs, according to port estimates. Each time a home-port ship docks here, it contributes $2.1 million to the local economy.

In a prepared statement, Port Commission President Gael Tarleton said the entire state benefits from the cruise industry. “Our goal is to have cruise passengers extend their stay a few more days to discover what else Washington has to offer and to increase tourism spending statewide.”

Cruise Terminals of America is the port’s terminal operator at piers 66 and 91. Home-ported ships are owned by Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. Next year, the Celebrity Solstice and Oceania Regatta will be added to the schedule. After a year in Seattle, Disney’s Disney Wonder cruise ship moved back to Vancouver, B.C.

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July 1, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Shooting ourselves in the foot and reloading by cutting tourism funds

The decision by Olympia to completely eliminate the Washington State Tourism Office is the kind of purblind “austerity” that ensures more economic pain. It may not be as damaging as cutting funding for K-12 education and universities, but it makes the point with even less complexity, which we need in a world dominated by talk-radio screamers, Ayn Rand acolytes pushing to turn American into no-tax/no-regulation Somalia and armies of Internet trolls cutting and pasting talking points.

In exchange for saving the piddling $1.8 million dedicated to tourism promotion this year (vs. $7 million the previous year), the state will be abandoning critical support for an industry that generates $1 billion a year in tax revenue from visitors. In other words, it doesn’t just hurt hotels, restaurants and all the other businesses that benefit from tourism, it actually will leave Washington with less public revenue.

Make no mistake: Tourism is a highly competitive business and Americans, especially in the hard times of the Great Recession and Barely Recovery, have only so much money to spend on vacations, conventions and conferences. As the Seattle Times’ Jessie Van Berkel reported today, Oregon spends $10 million on tourism promotion; California $50 million.

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