Visitors Bureau Releases 2010 Tourism Annual Report

Yakima, WA – The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) released its 2010 Annual Report today. Preliminary figures show that visitors spent an estimated $331 million in Yakima County in 2010, an increase of 7% over 2009.

Highlights of the VCB’s accomplishments in 2010:

  • Added a nearly 7,000 square-foot Outdoor Plaza to the Yakima Convention Center, funded through the Washington State Capital Budget for the Downtown Futures Initiative Phase IV.
  • Through lodging tax support from Yakima County, the VCB completed a series of interior improvements to the Convention Center including new carpeting, improved restrooms, sound equipment and other amenities.
  • The Convention Center hosted more than 128,012 visitors during 488 event days and brought more than $7 million in spending to the local economy in 2010.
  • Future conventions and groups confirmed in 2010 were up 9% compared to 2009. Staff generated 170 leads for group business. Despite the economy, actual convention/group room nights utilized were up 15% compared to 2009.
  • Due to strategic advertising efforts including print media, seasonal or themed micro websites and online promotions, traffic to the VCB’s consumer website www.visityakimavalley.org increased 30%.
  • The Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center served 16,487 visitors and responded to 11,525 people via online and mail.
  • Efforts of the VCB and their partners resulted in $303,800 of media exposure in 60 publications/media outlets with a combined readership exceeding 22 million. Media included the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Travel Guide and TravelAge West.
  • The VCB actively courts and supports amateur sporting events through its Sports Commission. The economic impact of sports tourism in the Yakima Valley was an estimated $31.4 million in 2010 and the number of sporting events held last year was 328.
  • A record 336 teams and 1,460 players participated in the Sports Commission’s Hot Shots 3-on-3 Basketball Tourney held on 28 courts in the streets of downtown Yakima in August.

To view the complete report click here.

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Meetings Industry Significant for Economy

Feb. 17, 2011- The Convention Industry Council today released a new study: The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, revealing that the U.S. meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs, a $106 billion contribution to GDP, $263 billion in spending, $60 billion in labor revenue, $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3  billion in state and local tax revenue.

The study, conducted by PwC US, assisted by a team of industry researchers, spanned more than a year in research and analysis and is the first-ever study of the size and scope of its kind. The research quantifies the economic contributions made by the 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place across the country. Details on the study and the 14 leading membership organizations which formed the research alliance can be found at www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com.

“As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus and business success,” said Karen Kotowski, Executive Director of the Convention Industry Council, the trade organization which unites the meetings sector and educates the public on its profound economic impact. “Two years ago, the value of meetings, one of America’s top economic and social engines, was misunderstood by governments and the public. This new research quantifies the economic significance of our sector for legislators, regulators and economists alike.”

Get the full story from this news release.

Here in the Yakima Valley, conventions and meetings have been an important part of our economic fabric and tourism industry. The Yakima Convention Center hosted 128,012 visitors in 2010 for a multitude  of events, from weekly Rotary meetings to annual conventions of various state and regional associations and groups. The center brought in more than $7.0 million in economic activity in 2010.

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