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Washington State’s Tourism Sector Takes $3.8B Hit Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Figures released on Tuesday by the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) indicate that tourism in Washington State logged double digit growth during the past five years – generating $10.9 billion in direct state GDP in 2019 alone – before the industry’s near total shut down in 2020 due to COVID-19. WTA reports Washington State has experienced a dramatic decline in tourism in 2020 due to the global pandemic. In fact, since the beginning of March, visitor spending in Washington has declined by $3.8 billion compared with last year’s figures.

Traveler spending in Washington has averaged losses of 77% over the past 12 weeks. Hotel room revenue alone has declined 72% between March 1 and May 23. And in April alone, Seattle Tacoma International Airport experienced a decrease of 93.6% in passenger volume, compared with April 2019; international traffic decreased 97.1%, and domestic traffic decreased 93.1%.

WTA’s David Blandford says, “Our state’s tourism industry has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. That impact was sudden and severe in every industry sector and immediately undercut funding for nonprofit destination marketing programs needed to jumpstart economic recovery and sustain jobs.”

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.