Photo: Cory Parris

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2024

Media Contacts:

Kau’ilani Robinson
(206) 251-8920 | [email protected]

Jared Dionne
(206) 461-5807 | [email protected]

Visit Seattle Celebrates Community Suppliers and Intentional Meetings On Global Meetings Industry Day

The destination marketing organization and a diverse array of Seattle businesses showcase how groups at Seattle Convention Center generated $302+ million benefitting the local community in 2023

SEATTLEThis year, for Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on April 11, Visit Seattle is celebrating the significant economic impact that meetings and conventions generate for Seattle’s hospitality community and beyond. In 2023, group business held at the Seattle Convention Center’s two buildings – Arch and Summit – produced over $302 million for the greater Seattle area. Significant additional revenue was generated via in-house group business that took place in the city’s hotels and other event spaces. 

“As a highly acclaimed meetings destination, we are steadfast in our dedication to diversity, social inclusion and sustainability within the meetings industry,” says Tammy Canavan, President & CEO at Visit Seattle. “We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the remarkable local suppliers who infuse Seattle meetings with unparalleled uniqueness. GMID provides a wonderful opportunity to honor these businesses and the imperative of in-person gatherings in Seattle.” 

For Visit Seattle, meetings and conventions offer an opportunity to uplift local suppliers via strategic and mutually beneficial referrals. The destination marketing organization’s conventions team works closely with these businesses and meeting professionals to develop impactful economic opportunities for suppliers while enriching an incoming group’s event with a distinct Seattle flair. 

“The concept of ‘intentionality’ informs how we approach business decisions,” says Kelly Saling, SVP & Chief Sales Officer at Visit Seattle. “We take pride in our destination expertise and curatorial approach to booking groups: that could be suggesting a diverse set of suppliers in the RFP process, ensuring tailored experiences during a site visit, or collaborating on a mission-aligned giveback to coincide with a convention. Our variety of distinctive offerings and community members is what makes the Emerald City special, it’s the core of our soul. When a group leaves Seattle, we want them to feel proud of the work they accomplished here and their positive impact on the community. 

Throughout 2023, Visit Seattle worked alongside numerous BIPOC-, women-, and LGBTQIA+-owned suppliers to create memorable meetings in the Emerald City. Below are a few reflections from such enterprises that underscore the benefits of meetings on their respective organizations. These businesses include: 

  • Refugee Artisan Initiative – a Seattle-area non-profit providing training, work, and business development opportunities to refugee and immigrant women. 
  • Can Can Culinary Cabaret – a cabaret dinner theater troupe that conceives, composes, produces, and choreographs multiple wholly original shows every year. 
  • Eighth Generation – a Seattle-based blanket and home goods company owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe. 
  • Bite Society – a small-batch snack company offering cookies, crackers, sweets, and condiments in inventive tattoo artist-designed packaging and gift boxes. 

Refugee Artisan Initiative
“Partnership with Visit Seattle has been transformative for our organization. We were able to keep 32 artisans busy making 3,000 upcycled conference bags for the APEC summit in the summer of 2023. This provided two months of consistent living wages for our artisans while keeping hundreds of pounds of non-recyclable materials like grain and rice bags along with retired fire hoses out of landfill. The delegates loved the unique one-of-kind bags. It’s a win-win circular economy model, and we hope to be able to produce more sustainable swag for future events as we have close to 100 women on our waitlist.” – Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, Founder 

Can Can Culinary Cabaret
“As a small woman-owned business, we are honored to partner with Visit Seattle in creating unforgettable experiences for meetings, conventions and for guests visiting the Seattle area. Our collaboration with Visit Seattle has not only allowed us to showcase the vibrant culture and diversity of our city but has also empowered us to connect with new audiences and amplify our mission. The AMEX GBT event that we participated in in December was a testament to the power of collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to work together to promote Seattle as a premier destination for sustainable and inclusive meetings.” – Fae Pink, Choreographer and Owner 

Eighth Generation
“The impact Visit Seattle has on our small business is huge. Our partnership with them has introduced us to local and national journalists, has connected us with other great organizations here in Seattle, and has had a positive financial impact for us via our work with incoming meetings. Our business is all about bringing prosperity to Native artists and being part of this thriving local economy in Seattle, and Visit Seattle helps us reach both of those goals.” – Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee, Athabascan), CEO 

Bite Society
“Visit Seattle has connected us with our biggest opportunities to date by opening up a world of potential international business for Bite Society. They have helped us put tins of cookies – which are covered in tattoo art – in the hands of convention visitors from near and far. Visit Seattle does more than promote Seattle. They partner with small businesses like Bite Society to make us part of the Seattle experience.” –Lendy Hensley, Founder 

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. Visit visitseattle.org. 

About Global Meetings Industry Day
GMID, fueled by the U.S. Travel Association’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition, spotlights the proven value that business meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows and exhibitions bring to businesses, workers and the economy. The Meetings Matter theme highlights the economic contributions and significance of face-to-face meetings, emphasizing the many benefits that professional in-person gatherings create. For more information on GMID, visit U.S. Travel Association. 

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