SEATTLE (October 4, 2022) – Tourism, outdoor recreation and conservation leaders will meet to identify work for the post-pandemic horizon to re-balance the flow of visitors and recreationists across Washington, accommodate growing diversity of traveler interest in environmental sustainability and find ways for Washington stakeholders to work together on broad and long-lasting solutions.

The inaugural Responsible Outdoor Travel Summit, October 13 at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, will feature some of the latest trends in travel and recreation. Presentations and panel discussions will feature topics including the rise in responsible travel, managing tourism volumes in communities and the outdoors, improving the recreational user experience and inclusion and representation in outdoor recreation.

The summit’s keynote address will feature Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation, an international sustainable tourism organization dedicated to ensuring that tourism has a positive impact on destinations. Opening remarks will be delivered by Hilary Franz, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands and Teresa Hillis of Expedia on global and community impact.

Presenters include representatives from REI, Alaska Airlines, Mt. Rainier National Park, the office of Governor Jay Inslee, Washington Trails Association, National Parks Conservation Association, the Snoqualmie Tribe and Tulalip Tribes, San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, Julia Cosgrove of AFAR magazine and Representative Cindy Ryu of the Washington State House of Representatives.

The first Responsible Outdoor Travel Summit will focus on promoting responsible travel to ecologically and culturally significant regions in Washington while protecting those assets and enhancing the traveler and host experiences.

The summit is presented by State of Washington Tourism with initiative and foundational support from the Port of Seattle. The two organizations have worked in partnership toward tourism industry recovery with a strategic emphasis on responsible travel. The first summit is intended to spark greater collaboration and commitment from each organization and summit participants.

“The pace of recovery has been uneven across Washington with some recreation destinations and their gateway communities seeing too much visitation at peak periods while others are eager to attract more,” said David Blandford, Executive Director of State of Washington. “The latest consumer travel research tells us that travelers are more interested than ever in environmental and cultural sustainability and we think there is an opportunity to align this market demand with environmental and community need.”

“COVID created exceptional demands for outdoor travel opportunities that had avoidable impacts on the communities and environments that people visited. The purpose of this conference is to identify best management practices for a diversity of travelers that can be shared to create sustainable economic opportunities across the state. Responsible outdoor travel aligns with the Port’s values and will help us protect what makes Washington a great destination and share it with the world,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman.

The summit is positioned to immediately follow the State of Washington Tourism Conference, October 11-12 at the Hilton Seattle Airport Hotel – the first in-person state tourism conference in more than a decade.

About State of Washington Tourism

State of Washington Tourism (the recently rebranded Washington Tourism Alliance) is a 501(c)(6) organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. SWT procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements the strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit the destination website at or the tourism industry site at

About the Port of Seattle

Founded in 1911 by a vote of the people as a special purpose government, the Port of Seattle’s mission is to promote economic opportunities and quality of life in the region by advancing trade, travel, commerce, and job creation in an equitable, accountable, and environmentally responsible manner.


Tracy Rabsky
Public Relations, GreenRubino for State of Washington Tourism
P: 206-452-8185