OLYMPIA – The Washington State Tourism Commission has elected Katherine Kertzman, Program Director for Seattle’s Southside Visitor Services (SSVS), to serve as co-chair of the commission. The SSVS is the official tourism department for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, Kent and Des Moines. Kertzman takes over the role from Kim Bennett, CEO of the Southwest Washington Convention and Visitor Bureau. Washington State Tourism Commission co-chairs are elected to serve for one-year.

“I am honored to be elected to continue the work the tourism commission has already achieved in its first two years,” said Kertzman. “Our task going forward is to continue to implement the six-year strategic plan developed by the commission and I am excited to work with the outstanding team at the Department of Commerce Tourism Office.” The commission oversees the work of the Tourism Office.

Kertzman was appointed to the commission in 2008 and is leading the Commission’s effort to initiate a Governor’s Tourism Conference.

“Katherine brings wonderful enthusiasm to the commission and I look forward to continuing to work with her as she takes on the role of co-chair,” said Marsha Massey, executive director of the Washington State Tourism Commission.

The commission was formed in 2007 by Gov. Gregoire’s historic tourism legislation. Since the first meeting in September of that year, the commission has: Developed a six-year strategic plan for statewide tourism development; Created a two-year tourism marketing plan;

Overseen the development and launch of a redesigned state traveler Web site at www.experiencewa.com Implemented a grant program now in its second year.

The next meeting of the Washington State Tourism Commission will be in November. Date and locations of this and the remaining meeting schedule and other information will be posted on Washington State Tourism’s industry Web site at www.ExperienceWA.com/industry. To view a complete list of the members of the Washington Tourism Commission, click on “Tourism Commission.”

The Department of Commerce is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov.