(Photo Credit: Seattle Southside RTA)
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside, including the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines, has announced that Mark Everton will be its new president and CEO, replacing outgoing leader Katherine Kertzman, who announced her retirement last year.
Everton was selected after a nationwide search for the ideal candidate to lead, grow and further develop travel and tourism throughout the Seattle Southside destination. The seasoned travel and tourism leader brings depth of experience and a hotel and hospitality management background to the growing Pacific Northwest destination. He will work closely with state and regional tourism leaders to promote the unique travel opportunities that Washington state and the Puget Sound area have to offer. Everton looks to foster relationships with key Seattle Southside stakeholders to continue the RTA’s efforts to build awareness, increase visitation, and support economic development throughout the Seattle Southside region.
With more than 35 years of experience in travel, tourism and hospitality management, Everton joins the Seattle Southside RTA after most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit Oakland, the convention and visitors bureau in Oakland, Calif. While there, he was responsible for promoting awareness of the Bay Area destination, both domestically and internationally, and for ensuring that transient, corporate and group business grew year over year. During Everton’s leadership, Oakland was selected as one of the 24 best places in the world to visit by National Geographic Traveler in 2019 and received a coveted spot on the New York Times’ “Top Travel Destinations of 2019” list. He also established an international presence for Oakland in key markets such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Canada.
“I am proud to call the Pacific Northwest my new home and am energized by the continued growth of and endless possibilities for the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority,” says Everton. “I’ve called California home for over 50 years and have been fortunate to work primarily in the Bay Area, leading large teams of travel professionals on both the hotel and destination sides. I understand the needs of local hoteliers and the business goals they bring to the table, as well as holistic destination offerings that are important to leisure travelers, group meeting planners and conventions. The post-COVID travel environment is ever-changing and exciting, and Seattle Southside is well positioned to grow and thrive, meeting and exceeding visitor expectations and the increased demand to visit the beautiful Northwest region. The key for us will be to turn the spotlight on the varied opportunities in our region and welcome people who have not been here in the past.”
Everton and the RTA team are focused on re-introducing the Seattle Southside region to travelers, groups, and corporations in a new and very different post-pandemic environment. Cruises originating out of Seattle play a large role in the Seattle tourism economy and the RTA is focused on marketing the region as a great pre/post cruise amenity for travelers.
“We are confident that Mark is the ideal leader for the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority during this next chapter in the region,” says Maureen Huffman (pictured left), board chair. “His strategic contributions, leadership and background in hospitality will ensure the future success of the destination and bring a fresh perspective during this dynamic time in travel, tourism and group business. We look forward to working closely with Mark to stimulate continued positive economic impact and job creation in Seattle Southside, and its overall appeal to travelers visiting the Seattle area from near and far.”
Prior to his leadership role at Visit Oakland, Everton was chairman of the board of directors for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and served as the area managing director at Commune Hotels & Resorts for its Silicon Valley and San Francisco hotels. During his tenure in the industry, Everton has additionally served as the general manager of the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square and managed three of Oakland‘s full-service hotels. He is proud to call the Seattle area his new home, and, when not exploring Seattle Southside, Mark and his wife Debbie enjoy hiking, exploring and showing off the region to their five children.
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside, including the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington and an idyllic place for meeting and event planners to hold their events. 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 info, visit seattlesouthside.com or call (206) 575-2489.