Feb 15, 2012

Positions Provide Key Opportunities to Represent Florida Tourism

— February 15, 2012 —  TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –VISIT FLORIDA – the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida – is proud to announce that its President and CEO, Chris Thompson, was re-appointed to the U.S. Travel Association Executive Committee. The U.S. Travel Association , made up of more than 2,100 members, is the national non-profit organization representing all components of the country's $1.8 trillion travel industry. Its 27-member Executive Committee is tasked with addressing pressing issues facing the travel industry and serves as a direct link between industry members and the U.S. Travel Board of Directors.

Four other travel industry executives from Florida also serve on the committee, including Gary Sain with Visit Orlando, Christine Duffy with Cruise Line International Association, Randy Garfield with Disney Destinations and Kelly Miller with Tampa Bay & Co. Sain and Duffy both serve on the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. 

Thompson was also recently sworn in as a new member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board by Commerce Secretary John Bryson. The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board is made up of 32 private sector CEOs and four Ex Officio members who are tasked with advising the Secretary of Commerce on government policies and programs that affect the U.S. travel and tourism industry, offer counsel on current and emerging issues, and provide a forum for discussing and proposing solutions to industry-related concerns. The members, who will serve until the board's charter terminates in 2014, represent companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry from a broad range of products and services, company sizes and geographic locations. 

Three other members of the advisory board have Florida ties, including Maryann Ferenc with Mise en Place, Olga Ramudo with Express Travel of Miami and John Sprouls with Universal Orlando Resort. Ferenc is also a new member of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors.

Two additional VISIT FLORIDA executives have been asked to serve on Brand USA advisory groups. Will Seccombe, VISIT FLORIDA's Chief Marketing Officer, will serve on the Marketing Advisory Group and Kimberly Faulk, VISIT FLORIDA's Business Development Director, will serve on the Business Development Advisory Group. Previously known as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, Brand USA was created in 2010 to encourage tourism to the United States. The public-private marketing entity based in Washington, D.C. hasthree advisory groups, including marketing, business development and global insights. The group of advisers, selected by Brand USA's Chief Executive Officer and senior management team, will hold its first face-to-face meetings in D.C. on February 28.

"These appointments in high-profile advisory roles with the nation's leading tourism entities reflect the Florida tourism industry's role as a thought-leader in destination marketing," said Chris Thompson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. "The access and engagement we all will have at the national level ensures Florida is well represented and I look forward to working closely with Secretary Bryson and the leadership of the other organizations over the next several years." 

For additional information, contact Kathy Torian at or (850) 205-386

Press Contacts

Travel Industry & Marketing

Sarah Kennedy – Director, Public Relations
Tel: 703-628-7389 

Industry Policies/Regulatory & Legislative Issues

Catharine Montgomery – Director of Public Affairs
Tel: 202-759-6758