New data shows that visitor spending in Yakima County was just under $350 million dollars in 2011, up 1.7% over 2010 and 5.7% over 2009, according to the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau.

“Given the state of the economy the past three years, these are encouraging numbers,” said John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “Visitors produce significant revenues for the public services enjoyed by our citizens, while supporting a range of local businesses.”

A breakdown of 2011 expenditures shows that tourists to Yakima County and residents traveling elsewhere spent:

·         $ 51.2 million on transportation & fuel

·         $ 82 million on food and beverages

·         $ 38.6 million on lodging

·         $ 53.7 million on retail sales

·         $ 39.7 million on entertainment, arts & recreation

·         $ 43.1 million on grocery/food stores

·         $ 41.6 other travel expenses including air travel, travel agencies and outbound travel expenses

Other Yakima County tourism data:

·         Visitor spending generates in excess of $23 million in state and local taxes in 2011

·         3,540 people are directly employed in the tourism industry in the county.

·         The ratio of overnight visitors to resident population is 4:1

·         Average travel party size is 2.4 people and they stay 2.5 days

·         Travelers staying in hotels and motels spend the most while visiting the community, an average of $600 per trip. People staying with friends and family spend the least, an average of $225 per trip.

Dean Runyan Associates of Portland collected the data for the visitors bureau in cooperation with the Washington State Destination Marketing Organization Association.