Seattle, Wash. (February 11, 2013)–Seattle Southside Visitor Services, the official tourism department and Destination Marketing Organization for the Cities of Des Moines, Kent, SeaTac and Tukwila, reports 2012 travel impact numbers are increasingly positive.

The annual study compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates shows the best year on record for visitor spending, local and state tax receipts and tourism employment. Visitor spending is up 5.8 percent over 2011.

“Since the Washington State Tourism Office closed in 2011, we’ve had to independently develop tourism promotion strategies from within our region,” said Katherine Kertzman, Executive Director of Seattle Southside Visitor Services. “However, through great collaboration, business managers and business owners have been able to realize an increase in tourism through local tourism promotion efforts such as Seattle Southside Visitor Services.”

With 5,240 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $28.4 million generated in local tax receipts, this report shows how the travel industry is a key contributor to the economic well-being of the Seattle Southside region. As the fourth-largest industry in Washington State, tourism supports small businesses, strengthens local economies, creates jobs, and brings in additional tax revenues.

The full Dean Runyan 2012 Travel Impacts Report is available here:

Highlights from the report:

  • Travel spending in Seattle Southside increased by 5.8 percent from 2011 to 2012(preliminary).
  • Employment grew by 4.6 percent – an indication that the stagnation in employment growth following the recession is finally subsiding. This is the strongest growth in employment since 2005.
  • The overall trend in visitor volume corresponds to the trends in travel spending.
  • Almost three-quarters of all visitor nights in Seattle Southside are attributable to Hotel/Motel stays. This percentage is much greater than for King County and Washington State.
  • Visitor air arrivals (domestic only) to SeaTac airport have also increased for the third year in a row.
  • Day travel represents less than five percent of all visitor spending in the Seattle Southside.

With the new Rental Car Facility now open, even more visitors are making their way to the Visitor Center thanks to additional signage along International Boulevard.

About Seattle Southside Visitor Services

Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) is the leading tourism and marketing organization in South King County. The program, offered jointly by the Cities of Des Moines, Kent, SeaTac, and Tukwila, is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for tourists who wish to explore Western Washington. For more information, please visit

Ashley Comar
Seattle Southside Visitor Services
206-575-0627 /