SEATTLE (April 2, 2020) – The tour and travel industry continues to adjust to the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Travel Association and Tourism Economics estimate that approximately 4.6 million US travel industry workers could lose their jobs by the end of May. This is a new reality our tourism-related businesses in SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines know all too well.
Hotels, restaurants, attractions and nonessential businesses in Seattle Southside have been forced to make heartbreaking decisions regarding furloughs, layoffs and closures. Our partners are suffering, but the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) continues to work to promote our local businesses aggressively and responsibly during this unprecedented crisis.
Unfortunately, the RTA is not immune to the economic consequences of the pandemic. When our partners are hurting, so are we. Last week, president and CEO Katherine Kertzman made several substantial financial adjustments to the organization, including the difficult decision to reduce RTA staff by nearly 20 percent. Aside from the layoffs, the RTA is also implementing other cost-saving measures, including furloughs and reductions in benefits for the remaining staff.
These measures are necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization, but the decisions are highly regrettable. The RTA staff members who have been laid off were valued members of our team, and seeing them go has deeply affected us all.
The workforce reduction will result in the immediate and permanent closure of the SeaTac Visitor Center on 176th Street. However, the RTA will continue to offer and disseminate visitor information in the form of a newly installed visitor box to provide printed materials and brochures at the entrance of the former visitor center, and by phone, email or online request.
Even though we are hurting, we will continue on with hope and optimism. We will continue to promote our partners during this crisis, and we will spearhead the recovery effort with targeted marketing and communications when normal activities resume. Rest assured, we will get through this, together.
Please reach out to PartnerServices@seattlesouthside.com with any questions or business updates.
About the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle’s Southside, including the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. The organization is responsible for promoting the community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the RTA strengthens the area’s economic position and provides opportunities for people in our community. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. For more information, please visit www.seattlesouthside.com .