KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau has released their annual report for 2012.
Visitors to the Tri-Cities spend an estimated $392 million a year here, making tourism one of the strong economic backbones for the area.
The TCVCB broke down those dollars in the 2012 report and found that the largest chunk of visitor spending, more than $120 million, goes to restaurants. Retail comes in second, raking in more than $63 million. Third is hotels which actually took a hit last year.
"2012 was kind of a challenging year, actually. It wasn't quite as good as 2011 but 2010, 2011 with some of the stimulus spending that was taking place in the Tri-Cities were banner years. So it's not that we're having a bad year but it didn't perform quite as well as previous years," said Senior Vice President of TCVCB Kim Shugart.
Business travel, specifically, was down this past year as the stimulus money disappeared and fewer traveling professionals were staying overnight.
The Bureau said 2013 is shaping up to be another strong year for conventions and sporting events.