On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) announced that it will be closing its SeaTac Visitor Center office on S. 176th Street, as well as laying off 20 percent of its staff.

Aside from layoffs and office closure, the RTA is also implementing other cost-saving measures, including furloughs and reductions in benefits for remaining staff.

Seattle Southside RTA began in 1999 when Katherine Kertzman was hired as the Tukwila Tourism and Marketing Director. In 2002, after the successful “Think Tukwila” branding campaign, SeaTac created an agreement with Tukwila to jointly market the two cities as a region known as ‘Seattle Southside.’ Des Moines came on board in 2006, and Seattle Southside RTA was officially established in 2015.

The RTA says it will continue to offer and disseminate visitor information in the form of a newly installed visitor box to provide printed materials and brochures at the entrance of the former visitor center, and by phone, email or online request.

“Even though we are hurting, we will continue on with hope and optimism,” President and CEO Katherine Kertzman said in a statement. “We will continue to promote our partners during this crisis, and we will spearhead the recovery effort with targeted marketing and communications when normal activities resume. Rest assured, we will get through this, together.”

Here’s the full statement from Kertzman:

Dear Partners,

The tour and travel industry continues to adjust to the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Travel Association and Tourism Economics estimate that approximately 4.6 million US travel industry workers could lose their jobs by the end of May. This is a new reality our tourism-related businesses in SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines know all too well.

Hotels, restaurants, attractions and nonessential businesses in Seattle Southside have been forced to make heartbreaking decisions regarding furloughs, layoffs and closures. Our partners are suffering, but the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) continues to work to promote our local businesses aggressively and responsibly during this unprecedented crisis.

Unfortunately, the RTA is not immune to the economic consequences of the pandemic. When our partners are hurting, so are we. Last week, with the support of the Board of Directors, I made several substantial financial adjustments to the organization, including the difficult decision to reduce RTA staff by nearly 20 percent. Aside from the layoffs, the RTA is also implementing other cost-saving measures, including furloughs and reductions in benefits for the remaining staff.

These measures are necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization, but the decisions are highly regrettable. The RTA staff members who have been laid off were valued members of our team, and seeing them go has deeply affected us all.

The workforce reduction will result in the immediate and permanent closure of the SeaTac Visitor Center on 176th Street. However, the RTA will continue to offer and disseminate visitor information in the form of a newly installed visitor box to provide printed materials and brochures at the entrance of the former visitor center, and by phone, email or online request.

Even though we are hurting, we will continue on with hope and optimism. We will continue to promote our partners during this crisis, and we will spearhead the recovery effort with targeted marketing and communications when normal activities resume. Rest assured, we will get through this, together.

Please reach out to [email protected]seattlesouthside.com with any questions or business updates.

Sincerely,
Katherine Kertzman, CDME

President and CEO | [email protected]
Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority
D  206-575-0547  | C  206-512-7344
3100 S. 176th Street  |  Seattle, WA 98188
SeattleSouthside.com