Laukitis, the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director since 1994, was told she had been appointed to the Michigan Travel Commission.
The state commission works to promote Michigan’s travel and tourism industry.
“It will be a lot of work, but it’s something I’m passionate about,” Laukitis said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to digging into it, finding out what’s expected of me.”
Laukitis was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to serve out the remainder of a departing commission member’s four-year term that ends August 2014. Her first big meeting will be in conjunction with the Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the end of March. The commission is working to set a new strategic plan for Michigan tourism and the Pure Michigan marketing campaign, she said.
Will the new position translate into more recognition for Holland as a tourist destination? Laukitis wasn’t sure.
“It’s actually setting policy for the entire state,” Laukitis said. But, she added, “it’s nice to have your little corner of the world represented.”
“She has a great grasp of what’s going on,” said Lori Varner, president of the local convention and visitor’s bureau board, and representative of the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express.
She pointed toward Laukitis buying an advertisement in the Super Bowl program as an example of Laukitis’ outside-the-box thinking.
“We’re trying to become more creative,” Varner said. “Never before would we be able to advertise in a publication that’s at the Super Bowl.”
In addition to her role at the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Laukitis is president of the Michigan Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus and the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan, and serves as secretary for the Lake Michigan Beachtowns Cooperative Partnership.
“Sally brings extensive experience in marketing all our Great Lakes state has to offer,” Snyder said in a released statement.
Holland Area Chamber of Commerce President Jane Clark said the appointment was an honor — not only for Laukitis, but the Holland area.
About 17 percent of the Chamber of Commerce’s members do business in the retail or tourism sector, she said.
“I think that Sally is a leader in the convention and visitor’s bureaus arena in the state,” Clark said.
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