Tourism up in Yakima Valley, officials expect more visitors & more spending

Tourism up in Yakima Valley, officials expect more visitors & more spending »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash -- Danielle Acay and her friends are visiting the Yakima Valley from the Westside. They came out to the wineries today. Just one of the reasons she says why they come.

"Even if it’s raining over there we can come over and know that we're going to have some sunny days and good times,” said Danielle.

Danielle and her friends are not the only ones coming. Yakima Valley Tourism says the biggest attractions to the Valley are Wineries, sunshine, and farm fresh.

Last year it was estimated that 1.5 million visitors flocked here. The tourism board says so far this year hotel occupancy is up a little over 9% from the same time last year. More visitors, means more money.

"I believe we're on track to beat 2013 both in visitor numbers and visitor spending," said John Cooper, Yakima Valley Tourism President and CEO.

He says they've invested more money in marketing to attract people to our area. Last year tourists spent about 359 million dollars, creating about 23 million dollars in state and local taxes.

That helps fund public sectors and local businesses.

"Business is doing really well I'm looking forward to the rest of the summer into the fall, even into the winter. With all the people coming through I think this is going to be a great season," said Meridith Vinansky, Silver Lake Winery Tasting Room Manager.

Most people do come during the summer season. Officials expect more people to come for the Fourth of July weekend than last year.

"We'll definitely be back. It's an annual girl’s weekend for us and we don't like to miss out on it," said Danielle Acay.

And hopefully many others will return as well to keep the trend of increase tourism going.

A full report on how well our region did will come out next year.