On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS), the official tourism organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, opened a new Visitor Center in Westfield Southcenter, which will be able to assist and influence more travelers in the Seattle Southside region. Complimentary Visitor Center services include restaurant recommendations; hotel reservation assistance and referrals; directions; brochures; maps and sightseeing guides; transportation guidance; advice on museums and entertainment – and details on how to get tickets; tour bookings; tips, suggestions and advice on area attractions and ticket information; and expert knowledge on local events, sports, festivals and activities. [caption id="attachment_71520" align="aligncenter" width="490"]SSVS_3464 Left to right: Carol Kolson, Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO; Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; De’Sean Quinn, City of Tukwila Council President; Katherine Kertzman, Seattle Southside Visitor Services Executive Director; Kathy Hougardy, City of Tukwila Councilmember; and Andrew Ciarrocchi, Westfield Southcenter General Manager, cut the ribbon at the unveiling of the new SSVS Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_71521" align="aligncenter" width="490"]SSVS_3480 Left to right: Tasha Wood, ACME Bowling, Billiards & Events Director of Events and Promotions; Bridgette Candee Bell, ACME Bowling, Billiards & Events Assistant General Manager; Will Ostag, iFLY Seattle Flight Instructor; Kimberly Matej, City of Tukwila Government Relations and Communications Manager; Kathy Hougardy, City of Tukwila Councilmember; De’Sean Quinn, City of Tukwila Council President; Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; Museum of Flight Astronaut; Katherine Kertzman, Seattle Southside Visitor Services Executive Director; David Cline, City of Tukwila City Administrator; Derek Speck, City of Tukwila Economic Development Administrator; and Brandon Miles, City of Tukwila Senior Planner, at the unveiling of the new SSVS Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_71522" align="aligncenter" width="490"]SSVS_3518 Left to right: Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; Kristina Thorne, SSVS Visitor Center Manager; Noelle Cueto, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Ashley Comar, SSVS Marketing & Communications Manager; Nick Tolley, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Emily Howat, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Katherine Kertzman, SSVS Executive Director gather at the new Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.[/caption]

Photo Credit: ELITECollective

Seattle Soutside also reports that 2013 travel impact numbers are increasingly positive, with tourist spending hitting a record $659.2 million in 2013:
The annual study compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates shows the best year on record for visitor spending, local and state tax receipts and tourism employment. Travel spending increased 5 percent from 2012 to 2013, marking the third consecutive year of strong growth in the Seattle Southside travel industry. “It’s extremely encouraging to see solid growth in the travel industry in Seattle Southside, despite the Washington State Tourism Office closing in 2011,” said Katherine Kertzman, executive director of Seattle Southside Visitor Services. “We’re now at pre-recessionary levels and expect to see continued growth thanks to the incredible partnerships that have been established in the Southside.” With 5,320 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $31.3 million generated in local tax receipts, this report shows how the travel industry is a key contributor to the economic well-being of the Seattle Southside region. As the fourth-largest industry in Washington State, tourism supports small businesses, strengthens local economies, creates jobs and brings in additional tax revenues. The full Dean Runyan Travel Impacts report is available here (PDF file). Highlights from the report include:
  • Travel spending in Seattle Southside increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013 (preliminary).
  • Earnings, employment and travel-generated tax receipts have also continued to increase.
  • The overall trend in visitor volume corresponds to the trends in travel spending.
  • Lodging sales have recovered to pre-recessionary levels.
  • Almost three-quarters of all visitor nights in Seattle Southside are attributable to hotel/motel stays. This percentage is much greater than for King County and Washington state.
  • Visitor air arrivals (domestic only) to SeaTac airport have also increased for the fourth year in a row.
  • Day travel represents less than five percent of all visitor spending in the Seattle Southside.
For additional information about the Seattle Southside Visitor Services, please call 877-885-9452 or visit www.seattlesouthside.com. About Seattle Southside Visitor Services Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) is the leading tourism and marketing organization in South King County. The program offered jointly by the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines, is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for tourists who wish to explore Western Washington. For more information, please visit www.seattlesouthside.com.]]>