Visitor traffic has been a bright spot in downtown Seattle’s recovery. A port of call for multiple cruise lines and the home to iconic tourist attractions, downtown has outperformed peer cities in this category. In 2022, conventioneers returned to the center city, along with professional sports fans, live music lovers and theater-goers. The new Summit addition to the Seattle Convention Center, which doubles the facility’s capacity, will bring more conventions and meetings to the downtown core and contribute to promising early recovery numbers for hotels.

Key Takeaways

  • Visitors Return: In 2022, downtown saw nearly 9.4 million unique visitors, more than doubling 2020’s pandemic low of 4.6 million people.
  • Long(er) Distance Travelers: Summer 2022 saw the highest share of visitors (58%) coming from 50-plus miles away. This was a 24-point increase since a low of 34% in 2020.
  • Record Cruise Numbers: The Port of Seattle estimates a record 1.4 million cruise passengers will disembark to and from Seattle in 2023, topping last summer’s record cruise numbers.
  • Improving Hotel Demand: Every month in 2022 hotel nights sold exceeded the same month in 2021.
  • Hot Summer: Among peer downtowns, Seattle saw the second-highest hotel occupancy levels in July 2022.

Total Unique Downtown Visitors
Since 2017


Total Peer Downtown Visitors
2022 compared to 2019


According to projections by Tourism Economics (via Visit Seattle), downtown Seattle hotel occupancy is projected to be 76% in 2023, nearly reaching 2019 levels.

Average Daily Hotel Rooms Occupied
Downtown Seattle

Source: STR, Visit Seattle

Monthly Hotel Room Demand

Source: STR, Visit Seattle

Peer City Hotel Occupancy Rate
July 2022

Source: STR, Visit Seattle

By 2026, out-of-state spending by convention attendees visiting the new Summit addition at the Seattle Convention Center is projected to generate an additional $211 million annually.

Photo credit: Port of Seattle

Cruise Passengers

Source: Port of Seattle