Visit Seattle Names Hospitality Veteran Tammy Blount-Canavan Its Next President and CEO
Blount-Canavan is the first female CEO of Destination Marketing Organization
SEATTLE – Following a nationwide search, Visit Seattle and its Board of Directors announce that Tammy Blount-Canavan, FCDME (Fellow Certified Destination Marketing Executive) will serve as its President and CEO, effective May 9. She will be Visit Seattle’s first female CEO, replacing longtime leader Tom Norwalk, who retired earlier this spring.
Blount-Canavan’s rich leadership history spans two countries and three decades, first in the hospitality industry in her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, to a previous position as President and Chief towards the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has strong ties to the Puget Sound region, having served as President and CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau from 2008 to 2012.
“I am delighted to welcome Tammy Blount-Canavan to Seattle,” said Carla Murray, president of Marriott International for the Western United States region. “She has made her mark in Vancouver, Tacoma, Monterey and I look forward to working with her again in her new role leading Visit Seattle. Her skills and expertise will help us grow our business in the future.”
Most recently, she was EVP, Principal at Fired-Up! Culture, a business management consulting firm focused on leadership and culture development. She is Past President of Destinations International, the international trade association for destination marketing organizations. She was recognized as CEO of the Year in Monterey, one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, and one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in the Industry twice. She has been recognized as Community Leader of the Year, Sustainability Advocate for the California Travel Association, Leading for Positive Impact by the Canadian Impact Conference, and was the 2019 recipient of Destination International’s Global Leadership Award. While at the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, she also helped found and served as the first president of the Washington Tourism Alliance, now State of Washington Tourism. Blount-Canavan worked at Tourism Vancouver as a senior executive for over a decade.
Blount-Canavan says his vision for Visit Seattle is to build on its strong foundation as a dynamic, bold and innovative organization, strengthening relationships and partnerships to elevate Seattle as the best city in the country to visit, live and to do business.
“I am honored to be Visit Seattle’s first female president and CEO,” said Blount-Canavan. “This city has been close to my heart for as long as I can remember. I love Seattle’s beauty, authenticity and culture – the city’s potential is limitless. I am beyond thrilled to be part of the leadership of this great city.
Blount-Canavan’s experience in meetings and conventions is in high demand as Visit Seattle is poised to make waves in the industry. After a name change, the Washington State Convention Center will become the Seattle Convention Center starting the week of April 18. The $1.9 billion addition, Summit, is under construction and is expected to open in January 2023, doubling its capacity.
“I was delighted to learn that Tammy Blount-Canavan has been chosen to succeed Tom Norwalk as the new President and CEO,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International. “Tammy is an experienced and passionate leader who is very knowledgeable about the Seattle area and its many offerings for leisure visitors, meetings and conventions, and business travelers.”
She replaces Tom Norwalk, who served as President and CEO of Visit Seattle for 15 years. Under Norwalk’s leadership, Seattle set all-time records for tourism visitation and spending. He recently oversaw an effort to increase the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area (STIA) assessment, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council and signed by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. , in March 2022. The rating increase will allow Visit Seattle to competitively promote leisure travel during a critical recovery phase.
“I am so happy for Tammy, our Visit Seattle team and our amazing city,” said Tom Norwalk, former President and CEO, Visit Seattle. “I have so enjoyed working with Tammy over the years – forming the Washington Tourism Alliance – or, on the streets of Shanghai, representing and promoting our region to major clients and media in China. I have witnessed first hand, that she knows and loves this city and this region.
“With the announcement of Tammy Blount-Canavan, Visit Seattle is poised to continue its well-deserved and longstanding reputation for having the smartest and most respected CEOs in the DMO world when it comes to working. with clients, whether they are convention makers, tour operators, cruise lines, individual visitors or the community itself,” said Rick Antonson, former president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver. Well done Seattle.”
Blount-Canavan enjoys walking, hiking, travel and family – as well as a good spy novel – in her spare time. While she loves iconic Seattle spots like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, her favorite place to take people on a clear day is Kerry Park, for its spectacular skyline views. Tammy and her husband Patrick Canavan are looking forward to making their home in Seattle and excited to join the community.
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