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Joe D'Alessandro, Head of Portland Oregon Visitors Association, 
Appointed CEO of San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
May 5, 2006 - Joe D'Alessandro has been appointed president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) effective July 5, 2006.  D'Alessandro succeeds John A. Marks who is retiring after 19 years with the Bureau.  
Joe D'Alessandro, 50, has been president & CEO of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA), Oregon's largest destination marketing organization, since April 1996.  During his 10 years at POVA, D'Alessandro oversaw an association whose marketing efforts dramatically grew the region's annual tourism revenues from $1.2 billion to more than $3 billion.  Visitor spending in San Francisco is currently $6.73 billion.  
"The breadth of Joe's background will be invaluable to San Francisco," said Jon Handlery, past chairman of the SFCVB, senior vice president and general manager of the Handlery Union Square Hotel and chairman of the search committee.
"In addition to extensive experience working with city and state tourism organizations, Joe understands the importance of the partnership between the Bureau and the City of San Francisco, which benefits all of its businesses and residents.  His expertise extends from international tourism to the latest marketing tools and techniques."
"Joe's selection as the new president of the SFCVB presents the best opportunity to continue the Bureau's strong legacy as the country's most professional and productive city marketing organization," added Rick Swig, 2005-2006 SFCVB chairman and president of RSBA & Associates.
Prior to joining POVA, D'Alessandro served as executive director of the Oregon Tourism Commission and as international program manager for the California Office of Tourism.   D'Alessandro currently serves as chair of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association, co-chair of the Portland International Air Service Committee and sits on the Oregon Tourism Commission and Portland Business Alliance board of directors.  He is past chair of the Oregon Tourism Commission and of the National Council of Destination Organizations.  He has also served on numerous other boards, including the Travel Industry Association of America, the NIKE World Masters Games, the Portland Rose Festival Association, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Organization and the Oregon Trail Coordinating Council, among others.  
D'Alessandro's success in the industry was honored last month when Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski presented the 2005 Governor's Tourism Award to him at the 22nd Annual Governor's Tourism Conference.  
In 1995, D'Alessandro was voted State Travel Director of the Year by the National Council of State Travel Directors, and in 2005 he was honored by the Oregon Counselor Corps for his efforts to internationalize Oregon.  D'Alessandro was personally knighted by the president of Portugal, Mario Soares in 1989.  He is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento and has also attended universities in France and Italy.  He has a 22-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son and lives with his partner. 
The SFCVB, founded in 1909, is San Francisco's official visitor promotion agency, working to enhance the city's economy by promoting and selling San Francisco as a site for conventions and tradeshows and as a destination for pleasure travelers.  With 1,700 members and an annual budget of $13.6 million, the Bureau is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country and employs a staff of 69.
In 2005, the Bureau booked more than 2 million confirmed group room nights for future years.   Average occupancy for the year was at 76 percent at an average room rate of $153 and the city welcomed more than 16 million visitors who spent $6 billion in the city.  
Marks announced in December, 2005 that he would be retiring from the SFCVB. A nine-member search committee headed by Jon Handlery was immediately formed. The committee hired Heidrick & Struggles, providers of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services, to assist with the replacement process. 
The SFCVB business offices are located at 201 Third St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. For more information, call 415-974-6900 or visit

Deborah Hall Wakefield, APR
Director of Communications & Public Relations
Portland Oregon Visitors Association
1000 S.W. Broadway, Suite 2300
Portland, OR   97205
Tel. 503.275.9795

Laurie Armstrong
Vice President, Public Relations
San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
201 Third Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone (415) 227-2603 

Also See: Big Tribute Planned for John Marks, the Retiring President of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau; Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Called Marks the Best CVB CEO in the Country - Bar None / May 2006
Denver Metro CVB's 2003 Budget Ranked No. 39 of 83 Cities in the U.S. / April 2004

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