The nation's amateur tourism is a $7.9 billion industry and Tacoma wants in on it.

Tacoma South Sound Sports wants to make the city the premier sports destination in the northwest.

We have a great opportunity to put Tacoma on the map, said TimWaer, CEO & President.

The organization helped attract 33 amateur events this year, competing against other area cities:Boise, Portland and Spokane.

Last year, amateur events brought in more than $9.9 million into the economy, attracting 126,000 visitors, occupying a total of 15,000 hotel rooms.

Someone comes in from out of town, stays in a hotel, eats in a restaurant, shops retail, goes to attractions, we've injected new money into the economy, said Waer.

Area hotels like the Red Lion say the tourism effort is needed.

Every hotel has peak seasons and off seasons and when it's slow you definitely need that help, said RyanKang, GeneralManager.

According to Waer, Tacoma has unique qualities like versatile venues, hotel inventory and close proximity to Sea-Tac Airport make the city marketable. If it wants to stay competitive, upgrades are needed.

We've gotta find ways to get more support whether its funding sources or corporate sources to keep up, said Waer.

With occupany levels nearly full during amateur events, Kang hopes more visitors checking out Tacoma will mean more guests checking in.

What they're doing is definitely helping the hotels around here, he said.

Tacoma South Sound Sports hopes to grow its reach in the region, targeting BMX, volleyball and national cycling events.

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