Discover how you can cash in on tourism

Buy a rental property for short-term rentals to cash in on the growth in our regional tourism industry

As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, domestic and international business travel and leisure tourism creates jobs, drives exports and generates prosperity around the world.

Think about the last time you traveled for work, to visit your family or for a weekend getaway at the coast. There was very little that you probably did during your travels that did not involve spending money – whether it was for your accommodations at a hotel, condo rental, campground or timeshare rental, dinner was at a restaurant or made from groceries bought in town, and you checked out a local winery or museum to explore some local color. All of the spending went back into the local economy through the hiring of employees that served you (and ultimately the local municipality, state and, naturally, the federal government).

According to the U.S. Travel Association, without travel and tourism, each U.S. household would pay an additional $1,300 each year in taxes. Travel and tourism helps circulate money in the economy.

Based on a 2017 World Travel & Tourism Council Economic Impact report, 2016 marked the sixth successive year that travel & tourism outpaced the global economy by 2.5 percent. The same report also notes that tourism outpaced growth in the financial and business services, manufacturing, public services, retail and distribution, and transport sectors.

Drilling down to the local level in Clark County, travel and tourism saw a similar boon in 2017, resulting in:

  • $509 million in total direct visitor spending
  • 4,180 tourism related jobs
  • $14 million in local tax receipts

As a resident of Clark County, it is easy to overlook being a tourist in our own backyards. Think about your last day trip in Clark County. Did you stop at the grocery store to pack a picnic before heading to Moulton Falls Park or did you drive to downtown Camas for dinner before a First Friday? It’s easy to be a tourist whether at home or out of town.

When visitors travel, they spend money on groceries, at bars and restaurants, transportation (think Lyft and rental cars), recreation and shopping. How can you join the ranks of what many national companies know and create some personal cash flow? One of the best ways to cash in on the continual growth in the tourism industry, without buying a hotel or driving for Lyft, is to buy a rental property for short-term rentals.

Bought at the right price, and factoring in the management and cleaning, investment properties for short-term rentals can generate a significant rental income. Numerous websites like, or provide platforms to access worldwide visitors to easily generate renters for your property. A one- or two-bedroom condo or house could be the perfect size for families in town for vacation or a business woman looking for a homier location than a hotel room for her 2 week business trip. The possibilities are endless of potential renters.

In addition to building equity while the property value increases over time, you have the ability to have your renters pay the mortgage (unless you are a cash buyer). Property appreciation can also work in your favor to have your investment value grow. In the last year (May 2017-May 2018), the average sales price increased by 10.6 percent (according to the RMLS May 2018 Market Watch Report). You would be hard pressed to find another investment opportunity that has a return on your investment of that magnitude.

Some words of caution, if buying a property for the sole purpose of a short-term rental, be sure to read the CC&Rs if the property is in a homeowner’s association to ensure there aren’t any restrictions against short-term rentals. Also, be sure to check the rules and regulations in the city or county where you are buying a property to confirm there are no local ordinances or laws prohibiting short-term rentals.

Andi Costello is a licensed Realtor in the state of Washington. Andi may be reached at or (360) 810-9111.