Pennington voted KTIA chairman elect

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Kentucky Travel Industry Association recently held elections for the organization’s 2024 officers and new members, with Harlan City Tourism Director Brandon Pennington being elected to the post of chairman elect.

Pennington recently expressed his thoughts on his new position.

“As someone deeply passionate about Kentucky, its people, and its landscapes, I am honored to be the chairman elect of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association for 2024,” Pennington said. “Chairman elect is a 3-year commitment to serve as chairman elect in 2024, chairman in 2025, and immediate past chairman in 2026. I see this as a unique opportunity to showcase the best of Kentucky to the world, from our rolling bluegrass hills to our vibrant cities all the way to our incredible mountain hometown in Harlan County.”

Pennington mentioned the position will allow him to work side by side with tourism professionals across Kentucky.

“It serves as an opportunity to contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of our state alongside the elected chairperson, Tricia Noel, and the other tourism leaders serving on our executive committee,” Pennington said. “I’m looking forward to the collaboration and passion from our executive committee as well as the vision of our management team led by Hank Phillips.”

According to a news release, The KTIA serves all aspects of the tourism industry in Kentucky. Kentucky tourism injected approximately $22 billion into the Kentucky economy in 2022. The KTIA is made up of and advocates for close to 1,000 members, supplying those members with business development opportunities, education, and helpful information. In addition, the KTIA strives to inform the public about the economic, employment and tax revenue contributions the tourism industry provides for the residents of Kentucky.

“Each of the newly elected leaders along with their colleagues already serving on the KTIA board are enormously talented, committed and highly effective leaders,” said KTIA pesident and CEO Hank Phillips. “As leaders of the tourism industry’s association, KTIA’s officers and board members play important roles in furthering the massive benefits tourism provides to the people of Kentucky. Our 2024 leaders are certainly up to that challenge.”

The elections took place on Friday, Nov. 10, at the KTIA conference in Bowling Green. Along with Pennington, next year’s KTIA officers include:

Board chairman – Tricia Noel, Hopkins County Tourist & Convention Commission; Chairman elect – Brandon Pennington, Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission; Treasurer – Claude Bacon, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation; Secretary – Brian Fry, Commonwealth Hotels; Immediate Past chairman – Jeff Crowe, Heaven Hill Distillery.

The following board directors were elected to three-year terms:

CVB Director – Cleo Battle, President & CEO, Louisville Tourism; Events Director – Traci Cunningham, Executive Director, Oak Grove Tourism & Convention Commission/Valor Hall Coiference & Event Center; Lodging Sales Director – Jakaye Martin, Director of Revenue Management, Thoroughbred Hospitality Group; Travel & Transportation Director – Sean Higgins, Owner, Mint Julep Tours; At-Large Directors – Abby Dixon, Executive Director, Henderson Tourist Commission; Julie Kirkpatrick, President & CEO, meetNKY; Lori Saunders, Executive Director, Georgetown-Scott County Tourism.