History & Funding
The road to Seattle Southside began in 1999 when Katherine Kertzman was hired as the Tukwila Tourism and Marketing Director. In 2002 on the heels of the successful branding campaign, "Think Tukwila," SeaTac joined and created an interlocal agreement with Tukwila to jointly market the two cities as a region known as Seattle Southside. Tukwila and SeaTac both contributed financially to the program through a portion of lodging tax funds and Tukwila is the administrator of the program.
In 2004, Kent joined and the following year the Visitor Center moved to a more visible location on Interurban Avenue in Tukwila. Kent contributed a portion of their lodging tax funds to Seattle Southside.
Des Moines came on board in 2006 as the fourth destination city. Des Moines contributes 100% of their lodging tax funds to SSVS.
The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee in each city governs the spending by making recommendations to the city councils regarding its use. This body was formed to implement legislation passed by the State Legislature in 1997, which directs that 1 percent of city taxes collected on lodging be used to promote tourism. The committee is comprised of an elected government official, half hoteliers and half other tourism venues, which gives the local business community a greater voice.
2010 marked the grand opening of the new Visitor Center in SeaTac, one block east of the airport.
In 2013, Kent's City Council made the decision to redirect lodging tax funds to other Kent specific projects.