Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Haslam announced Thursday the formation of a statewide tourism committee to be chaired by Colin Reed, CEO of Gaylord Entertainment.
In a related move, Haslam said Susan Whitaker will continue as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Once in place, the tourism committee will report to Haslam within 12 months regarding attracting more visitors to the state, creating effective marketing, coordinating public-private partnerships and focusing on tourism opportunities in less populated and/or economically depressed counties.
Joining Reed on the committee are vice chairs Jack Soden, who serves as CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., and Ted Miller, president of Dolly Parton Productions.
Tourism in Tennessee generates $13.3 billion in economic impact and employs more than 170,000 Tennesseans.
Whitaker was appointed commissioner in January 2003 and has overseen the creation and implementation of various tourism campaigns.
“Tennessee tourism has taken many positive strides during Susan’s tenure as commissioner, and I am delighted to have her stay on as head of the department,” Haslam said in a release.