Tennessean Susan Whitaker Named State Tourism Director of the Year by the U.S. Travel Association
August 19, 2013 6:34pm
RICHMOND, Va. (August 19, 2013) - Susan Whitaker, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, has been named the State Tourism Director of the Year.
The award is voted upon annually by the U.S. Travel Association's National Council of State Tourism Directors. Whitaker was announced as the winner before about 600 of her peers Monday at the ESTO conference of tourism professionals in Richmond, Va.
"Susan is a wonderful representative for Tennessee. I've had the pleasure of working with her on any number of critical travel issues and always appreciate her insight," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Susan gets it. She appreciates the power of travel to benefit communities, businesses and individuals. This tremendous recognition by Susan's peers reflects her passion for travel, and I know we all look forward to her many future contributions."
Whitaker's selection drew immediate praise from top dignitaries in her home state.
"This honor is well-deserved," said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. "Susan and her staff bring innovative ideas and vision to Tennessee's thriving tourism industry, and the accomplishments under her leadership will have a lasting impact on Tennessee."
"Susan is not only a friend of mine but she's one of the best friends that our Tennessee tourism industry has ever known," said entertainer Dolly Parton, formerly Whitaker's boss at Dollywood, Tennessee's most-visited tourist attraction. "Susan makes sure that the welcome mat is always out for folks who want to visit our great state, and I appreciate her enthusiasm, dedication, and get-it-done attitude!"
Whitaker's major accomplishments for Tennessee include the launch of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program which features 16 comprehensive, statewide trails in all of Tennessee's 95 counties and along the state's five National Scenic Byways. As the co-chair of Tennessee's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Whitaker is a strategic part of the planning and overseeing of Tennessee's 150th Civil War commemoration, including the launch of the Tennessee Civil War Trails Program. Whitaker launched Tennessee's Sustainable Tourism initiative with the 2008 Great Smoky Mountain Sustainable Tourism Summit, positioning the state as a national leader in sustainable tourism.
The STDOTY award is given to the professional whose leadership has led to the measurable improvement of his or her state's travel and tourism profile. Each year, such success is measured in relationship to the budgetary and staff resources that the director has at their disposal.
Candidates are nominated by other state/territory tourism directors and a slate of three finalists is presented for selection by ballot.
Whitaker is the third Tennessean to win the award since its founding in 1970, following Tom Jackson in 1978 and Sandra Fulton in 1993.
Tags: u.s. travel association
Contact: Cathy Keefe or Chris Kennedy
(O) 202.408.2183, (C) 703.899.7031 or (O) 202.218.3604, (C) 202.465.6635
Visit U.S. Coalition Launches Amid Drop in U.S. Share of Global Travel
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow Says Addressing Falling Inbound Travel Needs to Become a National Priority
Travel Trends Index: Domestic Leisure Travel Withstands Harvey and Irma
Travel Trends Index: Slight Uptick Across All Travel Segments
U.S. Travel Statement on New Travel Restrictions
Portions of Travel Trends Index Revised Sharply Downward on New Data
U.S. Travel Association Presents Florida Governor Rick Scott with Distinguished Leadership Award for Commitment to Travel and Tourism
Louisiana's Kyle Edmiston Wins 2017 State Tourism Director of the Year
Workers Who Start in Travel and Tourism Achieve Higher Peak Salary Than Most Industries
Marriott's Arne Sorenson and STR's Randy Smith to Be Inducted into U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders
Travel Trends Index: Int'l Travel to U.S. Continues Strong Showing Post-Executive Order
U.S. Travel Trends Index: International Travel Post-Executive Order Stronger Than Expected
U.S. Travel Industry Rallies Behind Brand USA
Travel Trends Index: International Inbound Travel Shows Signs of Weakness
Wyndham Hotel Group’s Geoff Ballotti Named U.S. Travel National Chair
Travel Trends Index: International Travel Unexpectedly Strong to Start 2017
U.S. Travel Reacts to Trump's Joint Session Address
International Travel to U.S. Finally Returns to Pre-9/11 Levels
Travel Trends Index: Following a Strong 2016, Outlook Improves for Domestic Biz Travel
U.S. Travel Welcomes Senate Confirmation of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State
Please login or register to post a comment.