A beautiful sight to see.

Washington’s awe-inspiring beauty and diverse geography and culture are natural draws for tourists around the world. Throughout the year, residents and visitors alike travel to towns large and small to see stunning vistas carved by volcanoes and mighty glaciers, steal some calm on a deserted ocean beach, catch some waves along the coast or carve some turns in pristine powder as night falls.

Indeed, Washington is an outdoor recreation and sports paradise, from boating and camping to treks through one of the few temperate rain forests in the world. For those that like their adventures to be a little more citified, visitors can enjoy world-class restaurants featuring the freshest seafood the Salish Sea has to offer. If these arts are more your style, roam through endless museums, enjoy a symphony concert in the park, catch a touring Broadway production or bask in the skill of a street musician who can play guitar and hula hoop at the same time.

Feeling like venturing out? Enjoy a day in Edmond’s Creative District before watching the sunset over the Olympics, or spend a weekend in Leavenworth; a Bavarian-themed town tucked away in the lee of the Cascade Mountain range. Tour Washington wine country with its hundreds of wineries and sprawling vineyards. Indulge in a facial or spa treatment in a historic hotel to renew and recharge, such as the Davenport in Spokane or luxurious Fairmont in downtown Seattle.

Whatever strikes your fancy, Washington is ready to exceed your expectations.

 

Industry Snapshot

  • Tourism is the state’s fourth-largest industry after ICT, aerospace and forest products.
  • The sector generates roughly $21 billion annually statewide and contributes $1.8 billion in local and state taxes.
  • Historically, the industry employed more than 180,000 workers.
  • Industry reports estimate that every dollar spent by a tourist creates $1.36 in additional economic impact.
  • Two-thirds of travelers are state residents who enjoy Washington’s year-round recreation and sports opportunities.

Some things never change.

Bing Crosby takes you on a journey of Washington State circa 1968, showing you many of the wonders that continue to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the state each year. For locals, it’s fun to spot a few icons that have become cherished memories of our past, like the Seattle skyline before skyscrapers.

 

An in-depth look.

You’d think that Washington’s natural beauty, a lifetime of things to do and amazing sights to see would be a natural draw. But surprisingly, some people still don’t know where Washington State is. Mention Washington to someone west of the Mississippi, and they will think of that other Washington, the one with all those monuments to dead presidents.

After trying to let the state’s assets speak for themselves, the state embarked on a new effort to attract visitors from across the country and the world. In 2017, Washington’s legislature funded a tourism marketing plan project to create a roadmap for mounting a coordinated, targeted marketing campaign. That was followed by legislation to create a new Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) to oversee various aspects of this plan. In 2021, the legislature authorized an additional $12 million over a two-year period to help the state recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Today, the Washington Tourism Alliance, in close collaboration with Commerce and the WTMA, oversees the state’s tourism marketing strategy. This includes managing the state’s official tourism website, ExperienceWa.com.

Those who have visited Washington before will tell you that you can’t see everything in a week or even a month. From long-lost ghost towns left over from the days of coal mining to the magnificent splendor of the San Juans with its 120+ islands, you’ll find yourself coming back again and again. And just when you think you’ve seen it all here, you’ll realize that Canada is just a short drive away, not to mention cruise ships that will take you to Alaska.

 

Need more information about Washington’s tourism sector?

If you have questions about Washington’s dynamic tourism sector, contact the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness at (206) 256-6111 or email us at moreinfo@choosewashingtonstate.com.

Or visit Washington’s tourism website to learn more about the state’s many attractions and destinations.

Tourism Marketing Plan

Tourism Guide

Meeting & Board Updates

A list of meetings and updates concerning WTMA activities can be found on the Commerce website.

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