Visit Spokane announced that Spokane County added 180 jobs in the tourism industry last year, in local retail stores, restaurants, hotels and more.Visit Spokane staff said Washington’s growth in the tourism industry is still slower than the rest of the nation.
Visit Spokane Chief Marketing Officer Jeanna Hofmeister attributes some of the slow growth to the state’s 2011 decision to close Washington’s statewide tourism office. Washington is only state that has done this. 
“It’s much harder as a community, as a destination, to go at it alone,” Hofmeister said. “How do I keep on the radar with Canada? How do I keep on the radar in New York City? How do I do all that, when the state of Washington isn’t doing that?”
The Washington Tourism Alliance, comprised of advocates from across the state, has stepped in to try to fill the void the state left. Visit Spokane reports visitors are spending more than $1 million annually than they were three years ago.
Spokane will reflect on some of the accomplishments in the local travel and tourism industry with awards later in May.