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Hotel/Motel distributions to cities and counties up nearly 15 percent

According to Washington State Department of Revenue reports, tax revenues generated by local hoteliers and returned to Kitsap County and local cities, increased by nearly 15 percent from January-June 2010 to 2011. First Quarter revenues generated by Sales for Accommodations, increased 10 percent from $4,545,783 in 2010 to nearly $5 million in 2011. The data was confirmed with the Kitsap County Treasurer’s office and a representative from the Washington State Department of Revenue. Second quarter data for April, May and June will be available in early October.

The Kitsap Peninsula Visitors and Convention Bureau (KPVCB) expects the second quarter revenues to be even more impressive thanks to major local events like the USGA Amateur Golf Championship event at Gold Mountain, regional baseball tournaments, and other adventure and sports events.

“With the decrease in tax revenues in other areas, this is very good news, especially for our local small businesses which are vital to growing and maintaining a sustainable economy and creating jobs,” said Rob Gelder, Kitsap County Commission. “When we look at economic development in Kitsap County and we discuss industry clusters, tourism must be an active part of that discussion. The statistics support the efforts to market the region,” Gelder added.

Steven Gear, manager of the Oxford Suites & Inn in Silverdale, and KVPCB vice-president, said there has also been a significant increase in leisure travelers thanks to all the national and international press the Kitsap Peninsula has been getting recently.

“We’re definitely seeming a steady stream of couples and families coming to the area as a result of the national press and the KVPCB’s branding campaign for the Kitsap Peninsula,” said Gear. “This proves that the Kitsap Peninsula is becoming a popular destination for leisure, as well as business and military guests.” Gear added.

The national press coverage was generated by a travel story published in the Seattle Times Northwest Weekend on April 20, that was picked up by Associated Press in May and June and featured in full-page on the front cover of travel sections in daily newspapers in dozens of cities including Miami, Boston, Denver, New Orleans, North Carolina, San Francisco, Portland, Columbus, and others.

Tourisms appears to be good for retail sales, too. Data from the Department of Revenue shows that Gross Retail Sales are up nearly 5 percent for 2011 from 2010. Revenues from sales of accommodations and food services combined are also up and generated $70,600,000 in the first quarter of 2011, an increase in of $1,629,651.00 from 2010.

“The increase revenues from lodging and retail sales prove that tourism and tournaments can and are having a positive impact on the local economy,” said Patricia Graf-Hoke, executive director. “The recent visit by 300 Microsoft employees aboard an Argosy Cruise boat for a “day of play” in and coverage by KOMO TV, proves our strategy to position the Kitsap Peninsula as the Puget Sound’s “natural playground” is on target and working.” Graf-Hoke added.

Thanks to the success of the Microsoft event, KPVCB is working on a partnership with Argosy Cruises Corporate Development to create special “eco-recreation” packages that will bring corporate events, meetings, and visitors to other Kitsap Peninsula other marinas and venues.

The Kitsap Peninsula Visitors and Convention Bureau can be reached at (800) 337-0580. Its website is www.visitkitsap.com.

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