Press Release


April 9, 2018

Media Contacts:

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

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

Visit Seattle Hosts First-Ever Global Tourism Summit

Summit kicks off five-year plan for cultivating international tourism through innovative thought leadership and programs abroad

SEATTLE – Always pushing boundaries, Visit Seattle will host the first-ever Global Tourism Summit at Bell Harbor International Conference Center April 10. The summit is an opportunity to bring together local community and business partners to engage with some of the world’s foremost global tourism industry leaders, like President and CEO of Expedia Group Mark Okerstrom, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association Roger Dow, and Visit Seattle’s international representatives from countries like Australia and China.

The Global Tourism Summit focuses on presenting the world of global tourism through two distinct lenses – understanding global trends and research and unveiling Visit Seattle target markets and campaigns in 2018 and how local partners can leverage them. The summit will also act as Visit Seattle’s first step in providing leadership to help shape a five-year plan to cultivate international tourism with community and government organizations and business partners.

“We are truly excited to spearhead a five-year master plan for cultivating international tourism and the summit is the first step in helping us bridge our community by working together to understand the strategies and opportunities that lay in front of us as a destination,” Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk said. “So much of what we do in global tourism is intangible, until you find yourself face-to-face answering questions from a visitor. This summit is a connection point for our partners to understand how Seattle is marketed abroad, give them insights to leverage visitors into their businesses and provide us with a unique opportunity to hear about Seattle’s perception abroad from international experts that will allow us to work together to define new programs that ensure Seattle is among the top most desirable destinations to visit in the world.”

Global thought leaders such as Expedia’s Okerstrom and U.S. Travel’s Dow are joined by President and CEO of Destination Analysts Erin Francis-Cummings, Director of Photography for National Geographic Traveler Anne Farrar and Delta Air Lines Vice-President of Seattle Tony Gonchar. As industry leaders, each will provide insight to help local businesses unfurl the latest trends, provide research and global insights for securing visitor travel from abroad into Seattle. They will also speak to ways businesses can engage visitors during their stay in Seattle.

Visit Seattle’s destination representatives from Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK will also present on current trends, insights and opportunities available to partners in each of their home markets. In conjunction with the Visit Seattle International Tourism team, each partner will unveil 2018 marketing plans and opportunities. It will be the first time that the organization’s international representatives will be able to present plans in person to local partners so they can better understand what Visit Seattle is doing abroad to market the city, how potential travelers are being educated and exposed to it and what they can possibly do to participate and support those initiatives locally and globally.

At the summit, a modern Seattle city guide app in Mandarin for Chinese visitors will be unveiled for the popular social media platform WeChat, which has about 1 billion monthly active users. Last year alone, Seattle welcomed more than 196,000 Chinese visitors who spent $236.7 million during their stays. John Boesche, Vice President of International Tourism at Visit Seattle, Alina Xiang, Visit Seattle’s international representative to China, and Eagle Yi, Tencent’s Director of Marketing for WeChat and WeChat Pay, will speak to ways the program will be marketed in Seattle and throughout China and provide avenues for community partners and businesses to get involved by tailoring experiences for visitors that can be featured on the platform.

“The summit is an incredible opportunity for our travel and hospitality community to hear directly from international experts and industry leaders about how Seattle is perceived around the globe as a tourist destination,” Boesche said. “More importantly it gives our business and community partners a way to see how they can interact on a global scale with potential visitors through Visit Seattle.”

About Visit Seattle:
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit






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