Visit Seattle CEO, Tom Norwalk, Retires

Editor’s Note: Visit Seattle has since announced its new CEO, Tammy Blount-Canavan.

Tom Norwalk has ended his 15-year tenure with Visit Seattle. He was the organization’s president and CEO.

“This has been a dream come true for me and my family. I have always been honored to promote and represent my hometown around the world. Seattle’s future is so bright—and industry recovery so close,” Norwalk said. “I will be watching from the sidelines—cheering like crazy for the Emerald City.”

Before heading off, Norwalk achieved the unanimous passage of an increase to the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area (STIA) assessment, signed by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, allowing the city to greater promote leisure travel as the city continues to recover from the pandemic.

Norwalk joined Visit Seattle as senior vice president of sales and marketing, and was promoted to president and CEO in 2008. Before Visit Seattle, Norwalk held marketing and leading roles with Seattle Hospitality Group, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and The Golf Club at Newcastle. His career began with Washington Plaza Hotel, now Westin Seattle, in the catering and banquets division.

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Norwalk’s colleagues had stellar things to say about working with him and his achievements in Seattle.

“During his tenure, he has always supported the Seattle Hotel Association and its members,” said Bill Weise, general manager of Silver Cloud Hotel-Seattle Stadium and president of the Seattle Hotel Association. “He has made sure that Visit Seattle’s marketing efforts were always geared toward all hotel members large and small. He understood that the smaller hotels, the non-franchised hotels had different needs and wants than the larger, big box franchised hotels and he made it fair to everyone concerned.”

“It’s ceremonious that Tom ended his tenure with the passing of the STIA assessment, ensuring our destination’s future success” said Kevin Clark, chair of the Visit Seattle board of directors and CEO at Argosy Cruises. “But for those who have the privilege to work with Tom, it’s not a surprise. Tom has committed his career to bettering our city. His bright leadership, strategic vision and unmatched service has cemented Seattle’s place as a leading global destination. And Tom will be remembered as an all-time great Seattleite.”

Visit Seattle is on the search for Norwalk’s successor, which is scheduled to be announced in spring.

Smart Meetings spoke to Norwalk at the end of 2021 in his downtown office to talk about his legacy, three things all groups should experience when they visit and his predictions on NHL’s Seattle Kraken.

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