Press Release


September 10, 2018

Media Contacts:

Kauilani Robinson, Visit Seattle
(206) 461-5839 |

Chantelle Lusebrink, Visit Seattle
(206) 461-5862 |

Seattle Wins Bid to Host 2019 U.S. – China Tourism Leadership Summit

SEATTLE – Visit Seattle and Brand USA will host the 13th Annual U.S. – China Tourism Leadership Summit in Seattle September 2019. More than 200 attendees are expected to attend from both nations to foster and build strong relationships between the countries’ tourism leaders, to encourage an open exchange of ideas and to promote tourism between the two countries.

“Visit Seattle is proud to be named host of the 2019 U.S. – China Tourism Leadership Summit. This is an incredibly sensitive time for U.S. and Chinese relations for a number of reasons, but in Seattle and in the wider Puget Sound region, we are proud of the longstanding relationship we have forged through tourism, business interests and shared cultural history. The event could not come at a better time to reinforce the strength of those bonds especially as China continues to grow aggressively as our top overseas inbound visitor market. This year, we expect to welcome more than 205,000 Chinese visitors to Seattle, resulting in more than $266 million in visitor spending,” said President and CEO of Visit Seattle Tom Norwalk. “This leadership summit allows us to showcase Seattle and the Puget Sound region to 250 leading travel and tourism executives from both China and across the U.S. It also provides Visit Seattle and our partners a compelling opportunity to showcase the best of what our region offers and position Seattle as a must-visit destination for the lucrative China market.”

China became Seattle’s top overseas inbound visitor market in 2010, when visitation from the market grew 133 percent as compared to the previous year. With superior air connectivity, connections in the technology and aviation industries, and a large local Chinese-American population, the Chinese tourism market to Seattle has continued to grow aggressively. In the next five years, the number of visitors from China to the city is expected to grow to more than 300,000.

“As former Governor of the State of Washington and U.S. Ambassador to China, I congratulate Visit Seattle on being named host of the 2019 U.S. – China Tourism Leadership Summit. As Ambassador I learned first-hand how sensitive travel can be to government procedures, which is why I fought to successfully reduce scheduling wait times for visa interviews. It is exciting to see travel and tourism leaders from both the U.S. and China gathering to proactively discuss best practices and opportunities to encourage travel,” said Gary Locke. “At such a turbulent time politically, I am proud that Visit Seattle will host this critical Summit and I look forward to being actively engaged in the event’s success.”

As a leading U.S. destination in the China market, Seattle is well equipped to handle the complex logistics of hosting this multi-day, multi-lingual event. Guests from China can easily connect to Seattle with convenient flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Travel colleagues from across the U.S. have an extensive domestic network of flights to choose from into Sea-Tac International Airport. The combination of Seattle’s outstanding hotel supply and event venue options as well as its vibrant and welcoming downtown will make for a seamless experience in the city.

“Brand USA looks forward to the Summit’s return to the USA in 2019, and we know Seattle will offer one big welcome to the U.S. and China government officials and travel and tourism industry leaders who attend,”  said President and CEO of Brand USA Christopher L. Thompson.

About Visit Seattle
Visit Seattle has served as the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Seattle and King County for more than 50 years. A 501( c ) 6 organization, Visit Seattle enhances the economic prosperity of the region through global destination branding along with competitive programs and campaigns in leisure travel marketing, convention sales and overseas tourism development. Nearly 40 million annual visitors spend $7 billion in the city and county each year. The economic power of travel and tourism generates 74,000 Seattle area jobs and contributes $718 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Visit

About China – U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit
Established in 2007 by the U.S. Travel Association, the China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit provides a platform for discussion between U.S. and Chinese tourism industry leaders and top government officials from the two countries. In 2014, U.S. Travel officially transitioned the Summit to Brand USA as the nation’s official cooperative destination marketing organization. The Summit is jointly produced by Brand USA and Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and it alternates between the United States and China each year.

About Brand USA
Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, was established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. travel policies and procedures to worldwide travelers. The organization’s mission is to increase international visitation to the USA in order to fuel the U.S. economy and enhance the image of the United States worldwide. Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion in 2010, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA. According to studies by Oxford Economics, over the past five years Brand USA’s marketing initiatives have helped welcome 5.4 million incremental visitors to the USA, benefiting the U.S. economy with $38 billion in total economic impact, and supporting, on average, 51,000 incremental jobs a year.






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