More tourists this summer means extra money for Yakima

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Tourists flock here during the summer to see all the region has to offer and of course, to enjoy some of the finest wine in the world.
And that of course means outsider's money going into our coffers.
Just how much money are we talking about?

"Our restaurant presently has been getting a huge hit from the tourists so yeah its been really helpful for us, we've been bringing in a lot of people," said Marie Lishota.

Marie Lishota is a manager at at the Carousel Restaurant in downtown Yakima, and says that 80% of their business is from tourists, who often come in for the wine.

KIMA learned from the Yakima Visitors and Convention Center that tourism is up 7% this year in the county.
That's based on the lodging taxes, and that translates to more than half a million dollars.

"Well if visitor spending continues based on hotel occupancies and how much lodging tax is created, that means more sales taxes in the local communities. That goes to help fund basic government services in the general fund such as roads, police, fire, parks and recreation. For the citizens it's a good benefit all around," said John Cooper, President & CEO at the Yakima Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Yakima tourists spend $350 million a year. The sales tax from that comes to $25 million and it goes into the general fund, ultimately saving you local taxpayers money.

For Marie at the Carousel, all the extra business has meant they've been able to expand and add two additional positions this year.

"Our restaurant really gets noticed by the tourists and folks from out of town to see our little French restaurant in Yakima is a really great thing, and people get really excited about it," said Lishota.

Marie said that in the past 3 months her restaurant has seen a 50% increase in sales, which means they've made of profit of $32 thousand while paying out $32 hundred in sales tax, which helps Yakima make needed improvements around town.

The Visitors and Convention Bureau expects the numbers to stay high through the fall.