New federal figures show the growth in foreign tourism to the Puget Sound area grew by one third last year, making this area one of the fastest-growing magnets for tourism among the nation’s largest tourist areas.
But the Seattle area still has a long way to go to match the traditional foreign tourist destinations of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and San Francisco.
U.S. Department of Commerce figures show some 475,000 foreign visitors came to this area last year. That put the Seattle area 15th among the top 20 U.S. foreign tourist destinations in the country. New York had 8.46 million foreign visitors last year.
Seattle ranked above the larger cities of Dallas and Houston, but lagged behind such smaller population tourist meccas as Las Vegas and Flagstaff-Grand Canyon-Sedona, Ariz.
Washington ranked 14th among the states in foreign visitors with 501,000 foreign visitors. That’s a 32 percent increase over 2009. Only Nevada equaled that percentage increase among the states.