SEATTLE — Weeks before the start of the Seattle-based cruise season, tourism executives said their business is slowly rebounding.
Visit Seattle reports that the number of overnight stays increased by 38% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Hotel occupancy remains well below pre-pandemic highs, and the travel company said the industry may not fully recover until early 2024.
Visit Seattle executives said the recent cleaning of downtown sidewalks was helping, and tourists told KIRO 7 on Thursday they felt safe.
“I think downtown is really clean, considering everything that’s going on,” said Teri-Dawn Wells, visiting from Vancouver Island.
Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a new law doubling the per-night fee for each hotel room from two to four dollars.
The money is used to market Seattle as a vacation destination.
“There is a feeling right now. I’ll call it a bit of magic in the air,” said Tom Norwalk of Visit Seattle.
Norwalk said hotel occupancy percentages dipped in single digits at the start of the pandemic and rebounded to around 40% in 2021.
Norwalk predicts that around 60% of hotel rooms could be filled in 2022, still well below 2019’s 80%.
“All the fundamentals that were in place in this city in 2019 are still there and ready to grow again,” Norwalk said.
This year’s Seattle-based Alaskan cruise season begins April 11.
Nearly 300 departures are scheduled and this summer at least one ship will be in port every day of the week.
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