Seattle among busiest cities this week as tourism makes comeback

Thanks to this weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party and Friday’s sell-out Mariners game, Seattle is ranked as one of the busiest cities in the country this week.

SEATTLE — With the help of this weekend’s Capitol Hill block party and Friday’s sold-out Mariners game against the Houston Astros, data from events intelligence agency Predict HQ indicates Seattle is one of the busiest cities in the country.

“Mid-July through the first week of August is our busiest season,” said Anthony Anton of the Washington State Hospitality Association.

While welcome news for an industry hit hard during COVID-19, hospitality leaders from the city and state meet Friday to discuss how best to emerge from the pandemic.

“What we’re really seeing are these vacation travelers who may have resigned and haven’t taken a trip in a while who wanted to see Seattle before the pandemic. They’re starting to come back,” Anton said.

The sentiment is echoed by some tourists visiting Seattle this week.

“For the past few years, we’ve really only traveled where we could go, in this Southeastern region, and these kids wanted to go somewhere else,” said Angela Rosenburg, who was vacationing in Seattle with her husband and two children.

Hospitality in Seattle is up about 70% from before the pandemic. Undoubtedly a win from 2020, but that’s still 30% down.

“The accommodation industry is so important to economic development on so many levels,” said Anton.

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While events, conventions and weddings draw everyone, only about a third of what people spend when they visit is spent at the hotel. The other two-thirds come from restaurants or retail and services like tours.

“We spend a few days in town and then head to Olympic National Park for some sightseeing and hiking,” Rosenburg said.

All of this spending goes back into the economy.

“It creates jobs that everyone pays taxes and helps us grow,” Anton said.

Although Friday’s gathering is a celebration of where the industry has come, Anton says it’s also about looking to and planning for the future.

The events we’re seeing now, says Anton, were likely booked before the pandemic.

“What we need to do now is fill the calendar with the conventions that are usually four or five years old,” Anton said.

Another agenda item for Friday’s meeting will be addressing the staffing issues that continue to plague the industry, which still lacks 45% of the staff needed to operate shelters in Puget Sound.

“We’re struggling to find good people, really no people,” said Bill Weise, general manager of the Silver Cloud Hotel Stadium hotel, who says the hotel is now operating with 100 of the roughly 150 staff it needs.

Weise will also attend Friday’s meeting and help discuss new hiring opportunities.

He says if you want to get into the industry now is a good time.

“They’re moving up the ranks quickly because there’s just not a lot of competition,” said Weise. Seattle among busiest cities this week as tourism makes comeback

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