Brand USA Snags Visit Florida President Chris Thompson
Around the State
Chris Thompson, who has been president of Florida’s tourism arm -- Visit Florida -- since 2009, has taken a similar job to spearhead the United States’ first nationally coordinated tourism marketing effort.
Thompson has been named president of Brand USA, which was created in 2010 through the Travel Promotion Act, which Thompson helped push for passage to globally market the United States.
“Brand USA has achieved significant milestones over the past year, and has an ambitious set of goals charted to become the world’s leading global destination marketing organization,” Thompson stated in a release from Brand USA.
“I look forward to collaborating with the travel industry and our partners in the United States government in order to generate globally leading job creation, GDP, export growth, and revenue for our nation through the power of travel.”
Gov. Rick Scott called the promotion a reflection of the success of the public-private Visit Florida, as Florida recorded a record 87.3 million visitors last year and is on pace to surpass that number this year.
“In his three years as the head of Visit Florida, Chris has proven to be a strong organizational leader and coalition builder,” Scott stated in a release.
“His expertise in fiscal responsibility, his ability to work well with government stakeholders and his keen understanding of the transparency required in a public-private partnership have made Visit Florida a model for destination marketing organizations worldwide. His appointment to lead Brand USA is a direct reflection on the success of Visit Florida and will provide a tremendous opportunity to project those achievements onto a national stage.”
Thompson begins with the national public-private partnership on Nov. 1.
Visit Florida board of directors chairman, Glenn Hastings, expects Thompson’s selection will be a positive economic impact on the U.S.
“In the past three years, Chris has proven he has the vision, passion and commitment to build and lead a world-class organization that will increase the economic impact of international visitors to the United States,” Hastings stated in a release.
“Chris has been a great leader, mentor, colleague and friend, and he leaves Visit Florida in a very strong position to pursue our vision of establishing Florida as the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”
No replacement was immediately named for Thompson. The Visit Florida board of directors is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the replacement process.
Thompson succeeds Caroline Beteta, who has been interim president of the organization since June 21.
In explaining his selection, Beteta pointed to Thompson’s experience in generating “nearly unprecedented growth in international travel to the United States” and “establishing mutually beneficial partnerships.”
Brand USA, in a release, noted the organization has just started campaigns in Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, set up representatives in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and Brazil, and went to India for its first sales mission.
Thompson started with Florida in 1983 with the Division of Tourism in the former Florida Department of Commerce. He joined the Leon County Tourist Development Council in 1988 before taking over the leadership of the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1991.
He founded a professional management and marketing company in Tallahassee in 1995, two years before joining Visit Florida as senior vice president.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.