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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 24, 2015 6 years ago

Tourism Development Council gets fresh members

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Toursim, hospitality enthusiasm make for noteworthy new members.
by: Jack Short Staff Writer

County Commisisoners appointed two new members to the Tourism Development Council at their Sept. 22 meeting. 

Rhett Wilson, director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and retired Siesta resident Vernon Johnson, former VP in charge of sales at National Cash Register Company and general tourism enthusiast, will both join the council.

Anna Madden, of the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council Liaison, said that Johnson would fill one of the seats allocated to representatives of the tourism industry, and that Wilson would fill a tax collector seat, reserved for individuals who have collected a tourist tax.

Johnson, who has been attending meetings for two years, said he is interested in various sports tourism projects like Benderson Park’s rowing facility and the Orioles’ presence here, as well as arts and cultural tourism. He hoped his experience as a volunteer with local chambers of commerce as well as his role as a beach ambassador, a volunteer program to provide tourists with information at local beaches, will help him contribute.

“I hope to continue to promote tourism and also help the understanding of what tourists are looking for,” Johnson said. "People want to come to place that is safe and family oriented."

Johnson was chosen from a pool of four applicants for that seat.

Madden praised Johnson for his communicativeness and enthusiasm for tourism-related matters.

Wilson, who moved to Sarasota two and a half years ago, has 29 years in the hospitality field and has served on the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

On his application to serve on the TDC, he gave the following reason: “I would like to shape the future of the hospitality industry.”

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