Our Region Bracing for Tourist Season

It's that time of the year, when the temperature rises, and the traffic increases.

Tourism season here -- a period of time that continues to grow in our region.

Employees at Garden Dance, a clothing shop  in Yakima say a large portion of their business relies on visitors during the summer months.

"At least 30% come through here during the summer," said Stephanie Clevenger, "We always have people that want to know where to eat, where to shop, what else is going on in Yakima."

With summer on the way, our region will play host to hundreds of thousands of people.

Yakima attracts people with it's Hot Shots tournament, fruit picking, and hops festivals -- while Walla Walla hosts this weekend's Balloon Stampede, and the Tri-Cities hosts the biggest event of all--the Columbia Cup the last weekend of July

"People are very friendly, it's always been very nice," said Jerry Gasaway of Lakewood, "We enjoy the shops and the warmth."

Both the Tri-Cities and Yakima visitors bureaus say attracting tourists is a must during the summer months, it's a multimillion dollar industry.

"Last year, visitors in our region, Benton and Franklin County spent over $398 million," said Tri-Cities visitor representative Kimberly Shugart, "There are 5,200 jobs here in the Tri-City area that are tied to tourism."

"It's about a $359 million industry, there's over 3,500 people directly employed in it," said John Cooper from Yakima Valley Tourism.

For employees like Stephanie Clevenger, it's also a chance to showcase her hometown to visitors.

"They want to know a little bit more about Yakima, and that's always fun, because we get to talk about our community and our town," said Clevenger.

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