Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 8:58am
St.Pete/Clearwater (Jan. 14, 2015) - David Downing has been named Executive Director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the official destination marketing organization (DMO) of Pinellas County, Fla.
The announcement was made in Clearwater this afternoon by Pinellas County Administrator Mark S. Woodard, after a five-month-long nationwide executive search.
Downing, who joined Visit St. Pete/Clearwater in 2007 as Director of PR/Communications, was promoted to Deputy Director in 2009 and has been serving as Interim Executive Director since August of 2014.
Downing will lead international sales and marketing efforts of a destination that has seen record growth over the last several years, qualifying as a "high impact" tourism destination in 2013 and generating more than $35 million in bed tax in FY2014 alone. He will oversee an in-house staff of 44 and an annual budget of $25 million, including satellite offices in the United Kingdom and Germany.
"David has been instrumental in the success of the organization as tourism moved into record territory over the last several years," said John Morroni, Chair of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. "We're fortunate to have someone with his experience, talent and dedication to continue the amazing momentum we've established as an industry---and the vision to build upon that growth moving forward."
A native of Boston, Mass., Downing was raised in St. Petersburg and attended graduate school in Chapel Hill, N.C. He then moved to New York City, where for more than a decade he worked in travel publishing and marketing for both Random House/Fodor's and Zagat Survey, among others.
Downing, who holds a Masters Degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is on the U.S. Travel Association's Communication Advisory Board and Visit Florida's International Marketing Committee. He earned the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation from Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) in 2011.