Letter from the CEO - Grays Harbor Gateway Center
February 2016 - The Grays Harbor Gateway Center Feasibility Study was recently completed and is now available for viewing on our website. The proposed facility, while physically located in Aberdeen, will focus on promoting the county’s food, lodging, retail, events, and attractions to the millions of visitors who travel throughout Grays Harbor every year. Additionally, this project will also consolidate the economic and business development functions by housing several organizations within one facility to provide a “one stop shop” for individuals interested in starting a business or learning more about economic development opportunities within the county.
For the tourism industry in Grays Harbor, last year was another record year. The County collected $978,778 in 3 percent Hotel/Motel Tax revenue, buoyed by increased visitation to Ocean Shores and the North Beach area. To put this into perspective, in 2010, the Hotel/Motel Tax revenue was quite lower at only $629,678. Interestingly, 100% of the operational funding for marketing the area, through the organization Tourism Grays Harbor, is derived from the collection of this lodging tax and is used to promote and market Grays Harbor as a year round visitor destination. According to the most recent research available, out of the Western Washington Coastal Region, (e.g., Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Pacific, Mason, and Clallam Counties) Grays Harbor had the most visits in 2014. This translates to more tourism dollars spent in Grays Harbor County than in any other county in our coastal region.
Lastly, $31.3 million in state and local taxes were generated by travel spending in 2014; $334 million dollars in total direct travel spending; 5,903 jobs were associated with the Grays Harbor tourism industry; and tourism jobs paid $102.3 million in direct employment earnings to people who work in the County.
As you can see from the data, the visitor industry provides significant employment and revenues to local and county governments and has been growing exponentially over the past few years. The Grays Harbor Gateway Center can help reinforce this trend and help circulate and disperse the economic benefits of this industry throughout our local area and region.
• Dean Runyan Associates, WASHINGTON STATE COUNTY TRAVEL IMPACTS & VISITOR VOLUME 1991-2014P (2015)
• Grays Harbor Gateway Center Feasibility Study, ECONorthwest (2016)