Katherine Kertzman, CEO and president of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) moved around a lot as a child—she came from a military family and even spent time living overseas. Still, most of her childhood was spent in Spokane and Tacoma. As an adult, she worked in Texas as director of marketing and public relations for a hospital. Then a job brought her back to the Northwest.

“I had the opportunity to join Highline Community Hospital in Burien as the director of women’s health services, where I opened a new childbirth and delivery clinic. Then in 1999, I joined the City of Tukwila as the tourism and marketing manager, where through inter-local agreements with neighboring cities, I developed Seattle Southside Visitor Services. In 2015, our hoteliers helped create a Tourism Promotion Area and established the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority,” says Kertzman.

Kertzman says she loves the regional community spirit of Seattle Southside. “Each city that makes up our region offers their own strengths, and, when combined together as Seattle Southside, make our destination unique and appealing. We have a beautiful beach community, internationally diverse dining and shopping community, and a thriving international airport and hospitality community.”

An avid gardener, one of Ketzman’s favorite inspirational spots to visit is the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. “Afterwards, I visit Zenith Holland Gardens, the oldest business in Des Moines, to pick out flowers and vegetables to plant in my backyard. I finish the day off with a meal at one of the international restaurants to remind me of my childhood spent abroad,” she says.

The southside region has more than 350,000 square feet of meeting space and nearly 9,000 hotel rooms. Kertzman says three more reasons for planners to consider a meeting or event in the area are:

» Location: Seattle Southside is ideally located near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, only 15 minutes south of downtown Seattle with three conveniently located light rail stations and free airport shuttles to hotels.

» Value: Seattle Southside is affordable for planners and attendees. Hotel rates are typically 20-30 percent lower than downtown Seattle. 

» Service: The Seattle Southside RTA staff makes it easy to plan an event. With complimentary services like attendance marketing, welcome services, site sourcing, transportation assistance, group rates at attractions and discounts for groups, the stress is taken out of meeting and event planning.

Northwest planners looking to take advantage of the experiential travel trend need look no further than Victoria, British Columbia, for their next meeting or event. Located on Vancouver Island, the provincial capital is a natural playground with boundless beauty, upscale comforts and casual elegance. “We know that organizations are looking for meetings and incentive travel options that can’t be replicated,” says Miranda Ji, vice president of sales for the Victoria Conference Centre and Business Events Victoria.


With more than 300 wineries, Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become a draw for oenophiles from all over the world. On the same latitude as Burgundy, France, the area is best known for pinot noir wines that are produced with an eye to value and accessibility, and, in pure Oregon fashion, a decidedly down-to-earth vibe. 


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