Convention-goers are coming to Seattle in record numbers as the city builds new hotels and adds more than 440,000 square feet of event and office space to the Washington State Convention Center.
Visit Seattle, the region’s tourism marketing organization, says 2018 was a record-breaking year for the convention industry in King County. The Washington State Convention Center hosted 50 national conventions, totaling more than 333,000 room nights. More rooms were rented in December – normally a slow month – in nearly 20 years, thanks largely to Linux Foundation’s KubeCon/CloudNativeCon convention, which ran for four days in early December.
The economic impact of total business booked by the private, nonprofit organization throughout King County hit $708 million last year, an increase of 16 percent from two years ago. More business is expected: The $1.7 billion convention center expansion broke ground last August and is slated for completion in 2022, and business booked through 2027 is expected to have an economic impact of $715 million, with more than 704,000 room nights booked.
Seven major hotels opened in downtown Seattle in 2018, including the Hyatt Regency –- the largest hotel in the Northwest -- and seven other hotels opened in surrounding suburbs.
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit organization, also said last year set a record for tourism, with 40.9 million visitors coming to King County. It’s the first time the visitor count cracked 40 million.