(Kennewick, WA) -- They've been crunching numbers, and the results are in; visitor spending is up over the past year or so. According to Visit Tri-Cities, out-of-towners spent over $489 million in 2021--a 41% increase over the year prior, and just 1.5% less than the record-setting 2019 numbers.

“The proof is in the numbers; people love to visit the Tri-Cities and they’re excited to include our community in their vacation plans as they return to travel,” said Michael Novakovich, President & CEO of Visit Tri-Cities. “We know the Tri-Cities is an amazing place to live, work and play thanks to our great weather, rivers, outdoor recreation, culinary and agricultural experiences, golf, wine and more. But it’s so rewarding to know that visitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest enjoy our unique and vibrant region.”

Spending was up in every category measured including lodging, food and beverage, transportation, recreation and retail. It resulted in $51 million in local and state tourism-generated sales tax revenue.

The data comes from The Economic Impacts of Visitors in Washington State Report-- a compilation of survey data from Longwoods International; the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics by industry; STR lodging performance data; tax collections, including lodging tax receipts; US Census business sales by industry and seasonal second homes; and international travel data for overseas, Canadian and Mexican travel to the US, based on aviation, survey and credit card information.