What’s New in 2024
Air and Sea News
Port of Seattle
In 2022, The Port of Seattle, City and Borough of Juneau, Port of Vancouver, global cruise leaders, and experts in decarbonization announced an exploratory mission to determine the feasibility of a cruise-led green corridor to accelerate the deployment of zero greenhouse gas emission ships and operations between Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington state. In March 2023, First Mover partners finalized a Project Charter that outlines the project’s objectives, definitions and general approach for a feasibility study. Please see the press release and Project Charter for more details and list of cruise partners.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) Launches Accessibility Program, SEA Access
SEA Access is an interdepartmental collaboration that supports the accessibility needs of customers and workers at SEA Airport through accessible facilities, customer service resources, and community engagement. Its goal is to create a safe, welcoming, and easy travel experience for all. SEA Access is part of Upgrade SEA, an investment of around $1 billion per year for the next five years, to update and upgrade its facilities in order to give passengers more of what they need and love, including accessibility support like:
- Zero-grade curbs and ramps at the Arrivals Drive to create step-free access from vehicle to curb with shallower slopes
- Restroom upgrades that will add additional family restrooms and restroom facilities with both baby and adult changing tables to multi-user, all-gender restrooms
- Accessible facilities like sensory rooms, service animal relief areas and nursing rooms and suites
To learn more about SEA Access and SEA’s ongoing efforts to become the nation’s most accessible airports, visit portseattle.com.
SEA Welcomes New International and Domestic Air Service
SEA has welcomed several new international air services, including:
- WestJet, Calgary-Seattle
- American Airlines, London-Seattle
- Alaska Airlines, Belize-Seattle
- Qatar Airways, Doha-Seattle
- Finnair, Helsinki-Seattle
- Air Canada, Montreal-Seattle
- Aer Lingus, Dublin-Seattle
- Delta Air Lines, London-Seattle
- Alaska Airlines, Edmonton-Seattle
SEA welcomes Alaska Airlines’ new international service to Nassau, Bahamas
The new non-stop route will run seasonally beginning in December 2023. The route will operate three times a week, Tuesday. Friday and Saturday, and will run through April 10, 2024.
Alaska’s route is the third new international service to be announced in 2023, following WestJet to Edmonton and Tahiti Nui service to Paris.
SEA welcomes international service to Paris with Air Tahiti Nui in partnership with Alaska Airlines
After becoming SEA’s first connection to French Polynesia in October 2021, Air Tahiti Nui is now connecting Seattle to Paris in new year-round, twice-weekly service. In partnership with Alaska Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui becomes the first and only carrier offering nonstop flights connecting the South Pacific, Pacific Northwest and now Paris.
The codeshare partnership between Air Tahiti Nui and Alaska Airlines offers flexible and convenient access between many major cities such as Vancouver, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York City and The Islands of Tahiti. The new flight operates twice a week – Tuesday and Saturday using a Boeing 787-9 Tahitian Dreamliner aircraft.
Southwest Airlines Introduces Direct Flight from Bellingham International Airport to Denver International Airport
Since April 2023 and continuing seasonally, travelers are able to fly direct from Bellingham International Airport (BLI) to Denver International Airport. The non-stop, Saturday only flight comes after strong demand for eastbound flights and travelers looking to avoid the heavy crowds of the SEA and Vancouver airports. BLI now offers direct flights to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Phoenix (Mesa), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma and Denver on three major airlines.
Spokane International Airport Expands with TREX Program
The $150 million and 144,000 square feet expansion project, called TREX, began in October 2022 with the Concourse C project. It will add three new gates, upgrade existing gates and add additional counter locations. The larger TREX project will be LEED certified, replace aging infrastructure, expand accessibility for persons with disabilities, promote economic development in Spokane and enhance competitive air service. The Concourse C Expansion Project is the first phase of the TREX program. It is expected to be completed by 2025. For more information, visit gegtrex.com.
SEA Announces Major Terminal Improvement Projects
A SEA improvement project spanning C and D concourses began in mid-2022 with completion slated for 2027. The project includes some 145,530-square-feet of dining, retail and other amenities, as well as a 20,000-square-foot Alaska Airlines lounge. The heart of the space will be the Grand Stairs in the C concourse with seating, airfield views, music, art, dining and retail.
The Port of Seattle Commission approved a $399 million budget for the C Concourse Expansion project. It has a goal of LEED v4 Silver certification and will be all electric and fossil-fuel free. The multi-phase modernization of SEA’s main terminal will transform the area where C and D Concourses meet by adding four floors to the building’s current three floors. It will also update and re-configure ticketing and security checkpoints and upgrade facility systems to meet new technology and building standards. Spaces will be lightened and opened to enhance flow and the passenger experience, as well as accommodate expected growth in passenger volume with a goal of making SEA Airport the greenest and most efficient port in North America. Phase A construction began in Q4 2022 with an estimated completion in Q2 2024. Phase two began in Q3 2023 and is estimated to be complete in Q3 2026. Learn more: www.portseattle.org
SEA Central Terminal Open After Renovations
In April 2023, The Central Terminal at the SEA was opened after undergoing a $21.8 million renovation to elevate the customer experience with more dining options, seating, charging stations and ADA accessibility improvements. In total, the renovation added 11,000 square feet of dining and seating, including Salty’s at the SEA, BrewTop Social and the Centurion Lounge by American Express. Learn more: www.portseattle.org
New electric ferry to Lummi Island
In 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a grant to replace the 60-year-old Whatcom Chief ferry with a new and improved electric-hybrid ferry for Lummi Island. The ferry is expected to fit 15-25 cars and will help lower emissions and help provide a cleaner environment around the island. The ferry is scheduled to be unveiled in 2027. Learn more.
Alaska Airlines Increases Daily Direct Flight Frequency to Eastern Washington Towns
In November 2023, Alaska Airlines and sister company Horizon Air added additional flights between Seattle and the Eastern Washington cities Yakima, Walla Walla and Wenatchee to ensure these smaller cities stay connected after a COVID-induced flight reductions. The airline resumed service between Portland, Oregon and Redmond, Washington, and the route will run from November 29, 2023 – April 10, 2024 when roads are particularly dangerous from winter weather. Learn more here.
American Airlines Will Offer Direct Service to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) from Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) Starting February 2024
For the first time, American Airlines will serve the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, creating a once daily direct flight from PHX to PSC that will begin on February 15, 2024. The addition speaks to PSC’s post-pandemic growth, and nearly the airport saw 800,000 passengers in 2022, making it one of the busiest years on record. Learn more here.
Convention, Sports, and Events Facilities
Seattle Home to 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic, 2026 FIFA World Cup
On January 1, 2024, Seattle will be home to the annual Discover NHL Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park, and The Kraken will face the Vegas Golden Knights. To learn more and buy tickets, visit www.nhl.com.
Seattle, along with 14 other cities in the U.S., will host the FIFA World Cup at Lumen Field in 2026. The upcoming tournament is the first-ever combined bid to feature three nations, the United States, Mexico and Canada, and Seattle will be home to 60 matches. The tournament is expected to collectively generate more than $5 billion in short-term economic activity and produce 40,000 jobs across 14 cities. Read the full press release here.
United Soccer League Men’s and Women’s Pro Teams Coming To Spokane in 2024
New United Soccer League (USL) owners Ryan and Katie Harnetiaux announce that Spokane will be home to both a men’s and women’s professional soccer team in 2024. The name of the men’s team, Spokane Velocity FC, was recently unveiled, and is a reference to the Monroe Street Bridge and the waterfalls in and around Spokane. The women’s team name, Spokane Zephyr FC, was announced in November 2023 and symbolizes the power and force for change in the community.
Spokane Zephyr FC will also have another team in the nation’s pre-professional women’s league. It is expected that over 35 matches will be played per season in the city’s newly built stadium, and the season will run from March to October. Find more information at www.uslspokane.com and www.spokanezephyr.com.
New Surf Park Comes to Yakima in Spring 2024
Barreled Surf Park, a groundbreaking attraction in development in Yakima, will provide safe, accessible and non-stop fun to Pacific Northwest residents and beyond. The WaveGarden Cove, a recent technological break-through in artificial wave technology and the park’s most anticipated attraction, will allow surfers of all levels to enjoy a variety of wave options, from a slow rolling ‘Malibu’ to a six-foot barrel. With lessons and classes, an onsite bar and restaurant selling craft beverages from the region and a retail shop for any surf-specific needs, Barreled is fun for the whole family. Guests can stay overnight at the campground, RV Park or in stand-alone cottage to keep the good times rolling. Learn more at www.surfbarreled.com.
Tri-Cities, Washington to Host IRONMAN 70.3 Washington Tri-Cities Triathlon in 2024, 2025 and 2026
Visit Tri-Cities will be the lead organization in facilitating the event through a three-year host agreement with IRONMAN and in collaboration with the City of Richland, West Richland and other regional communities and agencies. The international triathlon will also be held on September 22, 2024, September 21, 2025, and September 20, 2026. Each year, the event will bring 2500 athletes plus an additional 7,500 visitors, crews and support staff to the area inducing $6-$8 million in visitor spending to local businesses. Read the full press release here.
Snow Peak To Open First U.S. Campfield in Long Beach, Washington in 2024
Snow Peak, the Japanese outdoor adventure brand that reimagines outdoor experiences, will open a campground in Long Beach with accommodation options ranging from tents to minimalist cabins. The site will be home to a café and store, with paths connecting guests to Pacific beaches. Long Beach Campfield has a tentative opening date in 2024, and it will be the first location in the United States. The brand has five campfields in Japan including in Niigata, Hokkaido, Osaka, Kochi and Oita. More information can be found here.
Crystal Mountain Plans Major Ski Destination Re-Development
Crystal Mountain announced a five-year, $100 million redevelopment aimed at offering more space, access and providing an enjoyable ski and snowboarding experience in the Pacific Northwest. The redevelopment will increase life and terrain access, provide new on-mountain lodging and larger gathering spaces.
The first development is the Mountain Commons, a 25,000-square-foot open-concept lodge that provides a central space for eating, drinking and gathering to enjoy the mountains. The first level will act as a central hub for guests to start the day right with a café, retail and restroom area. Moving upward, the second floor provides even more dining options, including a pizzeria and a smokehouse bar and grill, and an outdoor snow beach with firepits and patio dining options. The Mountain Commons is projected to open in 2024.
During the 2023/2024 winter season, Cascade Lodge will be reimaged to accommodate every skier and snowboarders needs, including seasonal lockers, dining options, rentals, demos and retail space. In the months to come, Crystal Mountain will finalize plans for terrain expansion, increased uphill capacity and more amenities for guests to enjoy year-round. Learn more: www.crystalmountainresort.com
Tri-Cities, Washington Selected to Host National Horseshoe Pitching Championships in 2024 and 2027
The prestigious National Horseshoe Pitching Association (NHPA) announced in October 2023 that Tri-Cities will host the NHPA World Horseshoe Pitching Championships in 2024 and 2027. Each championship event is expected to bring in nearly $1 million in economic impact to the area. Learn more here.
Food and Beverage
Washington Chefs, Restaurants Named Finalists in 2023 James Beard Awards
3 of 12 Washington chefs and restaurants were announced as finalists for 2023 James Beard Awards.
- Outstanding Bar Program: Rob Roy (Seattle)
- Outstanding Restaurateur: Yenvy and Quynh-Vy, Phở Bắc chain
- Outstanding Restaurant: Copine (Seattle)
For Best Chef, the semifinalists from Washington included:
- Melissa Miranda, Musang (Seattle)
- David Nichols, Eight Row (Seattle)
- Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi (Seattle)
- Aaron Verzosa of Archipelago (Seattle)
- Tony Brown, the Ruins (Spokane)
- Dan Koommoo, Crafted (Yakima)
Additional awards and semifinalists from Washington included:
- Outstanding Chef: Renee Erickson, The Walrus and The Carpenter (Seattle)
- Emerging Chef: Kevin Smith, Beast & Cleaver (Ballard)
- Outstanding Hospitality: Lark (Seattle) and The Black Cypress (Pullman)
Snoqualmie Tribe, Salish Lodge & Spa Open Renovated Snoqualmie Falls sdukwalbixw Gift Shop & Visitor Center
The newly renovated Snoqualmie Falls sdukwalbixw Gift Shop & Visitor Center is now open and highlights the cultural significance of Snoqualmie Falls to the Tribe. The new center educates visitors about the Tribe’s history and ancestral land using educational and cultural resources from and artwork by Snoqualmie artists.
Snoqualmie Casino Expansion is Underway, Set to Open 2025
The Snoqualmie Casino announced a multi-phase expansion that will include a new hotel, expanded gaming floor, destination spa, 2,000-seat entertainment and convention center, parking structure and two restaurants with plans for a third in the future. The new space is set to open in early 2025. The casino is located in Snoqualmie, Washington and owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe. Learn more here.
Danish Artist Thomas Dambo Unveils Giant Troll Sculpture in Pacific Northwest, Third in Series
In August 2023, Danish artist Thomas Dambo unveiled a giant troll sculpture in Seattle, the third in a six-part installment of the exhibit “Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King.” Made from recycled materials, the exhibition shines a light on human impact on the environment, amplifies the network of cultural heritage between the Coast Salish tribes and Danish Scandinavian traditions and reinforces shared values of environmental stewardship. Learn more here.
Snoqualmie Riverwalk Project
The Snoqualmie Riverwalk Project is now in the early planning stages of a multi-phased, long-term recreational development that will act as a destination trail loop to be enjoyed by residents and visitors. The riverwalk will connect from Snoqualmie Falls to Three Forks Natural Area with trails along the north and south shores. The proposed Snoqualmie Riverwalk will increase public access and enjoyment of the Snoqualmie River, offer a loop system for and public spaces for programming and incorporate sustainable components to preserve the pristine environment. www.snoqualmiewa.gov
Port of Vancouver Continues Terminal 1 Vancouver Development Project With Expected Completion in Early 2024
In 2022, the Port of Vancouver USA unveiled the new Vancouver Landing, the first finished project of the port’s Terminal 1 development, which aims to provide a seamless connection along the Vancouver waterfront and offer a unique community and visitor experience. The project will redevelop nearly 950,000 square feet of space and create 800 new jobs to support commercial activity and is estimated to generate $93 million in state and local tax revenue over a 25-year period.
The Port received $3.5 million from the Washington State Legislature to remove the current 100+ year old dock and the structures above it and rebuild the dock with ecological improvements. The last phase of the Terminal 1 project is the addition of a public market on the new dock, with expected completion in 2027. Learn more here.
Washougal Waterfront Development Hyas Point Broke Ground in Fall 2023
The Port of Camas-Washougal began Phase 1 of development of Hyas Point, which will be a lively, walkable place in the cities of Washougal and Camas with community gathering and character spaces, commercial, retail, mixed-use and residential uses. The name Hyas Point references the local Native American culture, with “Hyas” meaning ‘big’ or ‘great,’ and the development will incorporate Native American artistic elements to connect to the community identity. The first phase of construction began in fall 2023, and it will have several streets including a main thoroughfare along the Columbia River and four buildings with 260 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Learn more here.
Port of Kalama Opens Community Mountain Timber Market
Construction of the Port of Kalama’s new Mountain Timber Market is complete and opened to the public in November 2023. The two-story, 32,757-square-foot space features local vendors, artisans and event, meeting spaces and restaurants. The goal of Mountain Timber Market is to boost local entrepreneurs and their businesses, as well as provide locals and visitors with a gathering space. www.mountaintimber.org/about
Construction of New Seattle Waterfront Underway, Expected Completion in 2025
Waterfront Seattle is rebuilding Alaskan Way from S King to Pike streets, and building a new street, known as Elliott Way, from Pine to Bell streets. The new surface street will span a total of 17 blocks from Pioneer Square to Belltown, with two lanes of traffic in either direction for the majority of the street. This street will also have the honorary name Dzidzilalich, which means “little crossing-over place,” in Lushootseed to honor the lands and shared waters of the Puget Sound Coast Salish People.
The project will add:
- Connections to park spaces, restaurants, stores and neighborhoods
- Raised street crossings and widened sidewalks for pedestrians
- More than 500 new street trees, extensive ground covers and green stormwater infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff on-site
- Extensive pedestrian lighting in addition to roadway lighting
Construction began in 2019 and completion is expected in 2025, with delays due to COVID-19 impacts. Learn more about the project and construction timeline here.
Hotels and Lodging
Carbon-Negative Hotel Westland Opening in Seattle in Summer 2024
The second of its kind in the United States, Hotel Westland will be a carbon positive and adaptive reuse boutique hotel in Seattle’s Pioneer Square district. Urban Villages, the real estate developer, has begun construction on the historic warehouse building, revitalizing the structure and turning it into a 120-room hotel with a restaurant, coffee bar, meeting spaces, a penthouse suite and open-air rooftop bar. The hotel will rely on renewable energy and reusable materials, partnering with regional ecology groups to remove carbon from daily operations. Westland marks the third structure in Urban Village’s carbon-negative “micro-district” called RailSpur, with offices and retail spaces already in place and connected by alleyways that host art, music and culinary programming. Learn more here.
InterContinental Bellevue at the Avenue Opened to public in Fall 2023, Accepts Reservations Starting January 2024
Opened in fall 2023, the InterContinental Bellevue at the Avenue is the first for the brand in the Pacific Northwest and the first InterContinental Hotel & Resort to debut in the United States in over 6 years. The 208-room hotel is designed with guidance from Huang Deo, Feng Shui Grand Master, and features 12,000 square feet of event space, a full-service onsite spa with a snow room and sauna, a fitness center, a Rolls Royce town car service and Les Clefs d’Or Signature Concierge. The hotel is home to three celebrity chefs run restaurants including three-Michelin-starred Chef Joshua Skenes, pastaRAMEN by Chef Robbie Felice and MM by Morimoto by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. www.ihg.com.
New Mistequa Casino Hotel Expected to Welcome Guests in 2024
Construction of the new Mistequa Casino Hotel is underway with expected completion in 2024. The Spokane Tribe broke ground on the project in October 2021, and the hotel will be the first hotel property owned and operated by the Tribe. The new space will feature 69 guestrooms and will include amenities like an on-site restaurant, lounge and patio seating, indoor swimming pool, indoor hot tub and sauna, fitness room and meeting and event space. Mistequa Casino Hotel will also feature ski lockers for guests visiting the nearby 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort and will offer a seasonal RV Park and a nearby convenience store for snacks and fuel. Learn more at www.mistequa.com.
Sasquatch Watch Airbnb scheduled to open in 2024
Located near Mount Rainier National Park, this Sasquatch-themed Airbnb imitates a Bigfoot Cabin Dwelling with Sasquatch thrones, a large bed, custom wood designs and more. The project was funded after the owners entered the idea in Airbnb’s $10M OMG! Fund, awarded to 100 winners across 20 countries. It is expected to open in 2024. Learn more here.
Hotel Iconica Celebrates Soft Opening in Spring 2023, Full Opening Expected in 2024
Hotel Iconica, located in White Salmon near the Columbia River Gorge, welcomed guests in Spring 2023 after completing the first phase of development. The property features 16 guestrooms, from one- and two-bed rooms to Penthouse suites, all of which have full kitchens and contactless check-in and out. The property blends art, sculpture and unity to reflect the natural environment and offers unobstructed views of Mount Hood for an authentic experience. Phase 2 of development began in April 2023 and upon completion in spring 2024, will add an additional 14 rooms. Learn more at www.hoteliconica.com.
The Former States Inn on the San Juan Islands Becomes Saturn’s Return
Saturn’s Return replaces the former States Inn on the San Juan Islands and brings regenerative tourism and agriculture to the forefront. The hotel is set on a large farm where guests can participate in farm chores that help support sustainable practices like gathering eggs, joining in on the morning harvest, planting fruit trees and tending the beehives. Seasonal workshops are also available and will cover gardening, cooking, baking, fiber arts, floristry, herbalism and more. Over the next five years, the hotel will plant over two thousand species of flora, with a focus on storage and staple crops. The hotel features sustainable amenities like organic linens, and guests can enjoy a daily breakfast made from farm-grown ingredients. Learn more at www.saturnsreturn.com.
Stargazer Dome Welcomed Guests in 2023
This spacious 2-story geodome is a luxury glamping experience with modern amenities in Mineral, Washington. The inside is home to a king bed, kitchen, indoor fireplace and more and the outdoor stargazing patio and fire-pit allows guests to experience unpolluted views of the starry sky. Learn more here.
Althea Conyers Achem / Taylor Zetlin / Molly Gilbride
Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism