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Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority: Working to bring Visitors to Southwest King County


The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is the destination marketing organization for Southwest King County.

The region referred to as “Seattle Southside” is comprised of the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines. Seattle Southside RTA, much like destination marketing organizations (DMO) across the country, markets and promotes the destination to leisure and business travelers. Their primary goal is to bring more visitors to the area, to spend money at businesses within the community, thereby boosting the local economy.

DMOs tend to fly under the radar, working to promote their destination with little recognition of the organization. You may be more familiar with the work of a destination marketing organization than the organization itself. For example, even if you didn’t know what a DMO was, you’re probably familiar with the work of DMOs through popular slogans or ad campaigns like “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” or “slip a shrimp on the barbie,” from our friends down under.

The Complementary Cities
It isn’t exactly common for three cities to be grouped together under the umbrella of a single destination marketing organization. However, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines work to complement each other to form an enticing vacation destination for a wide variety of travelers. The idea for the DMO came from the hard work of RTA President & CEO Katherine Kertzman and local hoteliers who in 2014, petitioned the cities to create a self-assessed tourism promotion area fund to increase funding for tourism marketing.

“It has always my mission to showcase the unique attributes of the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines that make the Seattle Southside region a fun, and exciting destination for leisure and business travelers,” says Kertzman. “Together the region has a more compelling story to share.”

Over the past several years, the RTA has worked tirelessly to market and position the region as a competitive destination in the leisure and tour/travel markets.

Recent Success
Since the formation of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, the local tourism economy has seen a significant rise in visitor spend. In 2017, visitors spent $726.6 million in the Seattle Southside area, resulting in $75.4 million in local and state tax receipts. The local tourism industry employs 5,000 people and saves locals $916 in annual taxes. Finally, for every dollar spent on marketing the Seattle Southside destination, $42.86 is spent at area businesses. Not bad for a return on investment!

Seattle’s Backyard
If you haven’t heard of Seattle Southside, perhaps you’ve heard the slogan “Seattle’s Backyard” on Seattle Refined, or seen a Link light rail train car wrapped in a Seattle’s Backyard ad? To sum it up, the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is busy creating a buzz by showcasing all the reasons to stay, play, and explore in Southwest King County.

Stop by their visitor center in SeaTac, just up the street from the Sea-Tac Airport light rail station, to learn more. For now, watch this clip to get a taste of some of the promotional work of the RTA:

For more info, visit https://www.seattlesouthside.com.

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