May 24, 2018
King County Executive
King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
The Honorable Dow Constantine,
I am writing to express my concern over the proposed ordinance to reallocate funding for tourism promotion that is scheduled to begin in 2021. It has come to my attention the amount previously promised to support increased tourism promotion from lodging taxes may be directed for non-marketing activities.
As you well know, travel and tourism are a major economic driver for all of King County and Washington State. In the Seattle Southside cities of Des Moines, SeaTac and Tukwila, tourism generates a return on investment of more than $40 for every dollar spent marketing the region to visitors. That impact makes us the rival of many regions around the country and the world.
Seattle Southside employs 5,000 people in the tourism industry with visitors spending a record $726 million with $75.4 million generated in local and state tax receipts.
Our ongoing commitment to promoting tourism translates to increased job opportunities, tax receipts, and revenue for our hotels, restaurants, attractions and amenities. The next effect is that tourism saves the average homeowner in our region $916 in taxes each year.
We fully support the original plan to invest lodging tax dollars that are earmarked for ongoing tourism promotion, 4Culture and affordable housing initiatives. But we all must realize that tourism promotion has proven to be an incredibly valuable investment in our community, providing economic benefit not just for citizens and businesses, but also for making possible many other community services.
Please be aware that directing lodging tax dollars away from tourism promotion and marketing will have a very negative ripple effect on the economic vitality of our region and it will do nothing to generate new business that will replenish the fund.
Katherine Kertzman Andrea Reay
President & CEO President & CEO
Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce
Click here to see our letter in its original format.