Why Seattle Makes an Ideal Hub for International Gatherings

A Sponsored Message from Visit Seattle

Author: Nathan Mattise       

exterior view of glass encased building

Opened earlier this year, Seattle Convention Center’s new Summit building is the first vertical convention center in North America and adds more than 570,000 square feet of event space to the city’s convention package.

For any business event where many attendees arrive with passports in hand, few places work as well as Seattle. The city has consistently been recognized as one of the most diverse and inclusive places in North America. Research from Yougov — an international research, data, and analytics group — showed that a vast majority of Seattleites (80 percent) believe that the city is welcoming to people of all backgrounds and cultures.

That openness has helped Seattle build one of the U.S.’ most culturally vibrant communities — in the last census, it was the fifth-fastest diversifying city of the decade. Today, nearly one in five residents is foreign-born and more than 120 languages are spoken in Seattle public schools.

Accordingly, Seattle’s food, art, and music represent that cultural cornucopia — and for event-goers, that means plenty of diverse experiences on offer for the free moments in their schedules. This could mean browsing the latest exhibitions at the Northwest African American Museum or the National Nordic Museum one afternoon, or gathering with colleagues to sample Chinese hand-pulled noodles at Biang Biang Noodles in Capitol Hill, just a few blocks away from the Seattle Convention Center.

colorful sculptures

Nature walks in and around Seattle served as inspiration for Marela Zacarías’ collection of colorful sculptures, “Chalchiuhtlicue,” which seemingly float above the baggage carousels in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s International Arrivals Facility.

Breezy Travel

It’s not just the fabric of the local communities that makes Seattle a desirable meeting destination; the city is also one of the most convenient places for groups from across the globe to gather. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA Airport) sits directly halfway between London and Tokyo, making it the closest west coast gateway to attendees coming from both Europe and Asia. In addition to 93 domestic nonstop routes, SEA Airport has 29 nonstop international routes ranging from Shanghai to Paris, and just within the last year, it has added five new routes including to Tahiti and Helsinki. And after the opening of a new 450,000-square-foot international arrivals facility in 2022, it’s no surprise that Skytrax named SEA Airport the best in North America two years running.

All these factors have helped make Seattle a hub for fields like health care, life sciences, technology, and gaming, which in turn has helped the city draw some impressive international events. Microsoft hosts several annual meetings here that draw attendees from around the world, and a wide range of professional organizations — from the International Antiviral Society—USA’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections held in February 2023 to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative’s Senior Officials’ Meeting held this past July — have made Seattle their host city. As organizations and companies choose Seattle again and again, it’s clear that the destination’s worldwide appeal is a win-win for attendees and organizers alike.

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