Mark Calitri speaks tourism: Hear the Music: Owensboro, Kentucky
Brand USA will promote tourism to several major cities and states as part of a campaign that encourages authentic American experiences. Included on the list of 10 are Austin, Texas, Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee, New Orleans, Owensboro and West Hollywood, California.
Mark Calitri, Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director, made the announcement during a report before Daviess Fiscal Court Thursday evening.
“We’re hoping to put together a really big campaign behind that this spring,” Calitri said. “Hopefully the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. will join us. You just can’t buy that type of national exposure, and we’ll try to capitalize on it.”
Although it may seem Owensboro is a bit out of its league on the list, especially among major economic centers such as Detroit, Las Vegas and New Orleans, Calitri said the region is uniquely positioned in a part of the country Brand USA is targeting right now both culturally and geographically.
Visit Owensboro is the official destination marketing organization for Owensboro and Daviess County Kentucky. www.visitowensboro.com Mark Calitri serves as President/CEO
Going for ‘GOLD’
By Keith Lawrence
The Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau will celebrate its 45th anniversary this fall with a new president and an expanded effort to help fill local hotel rooms.
Mark Calitri, former president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati East Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Clermont (Ohio) Sports Development Corp., began his duties as president of the local CVB on June 1.
Ruth Ann Dearness, the CVB’s board chairwoman, said the decision to hire Calitri was easy.
“We interviewed three people,” she said. “Mark has the track record we need. He came with incredible recommendations. He has Kentucky roots, and he lived in Northern Kentucky. He understands the culture. He impressed us with the homework he had done on Owensboro. He came here and studied the community before his interview.”
Dearness said Calitri fits the job description so well that, “Had we known Mark first, it would look like we built the job description around him.”
Candance Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, served on the CVB’s search committee.
“Mark’s success at his last position was remarkable,” she said. “That track record along with his fresh perspective on how we can be better are so impressive and will lay the groundwork for our success for years to come.”
She said the chamber, CVB and Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. work together to promote the community.
Calitri, the first person from outside the region to head the CVB, was born in Barbourville and grew up in Richmond.
Back then, he wanted to be “a musician with facepaint — like Kiss” — or a professional wrestler when he grew up.
But Calitri was introduced to the hospitality industry — and found a different career — when he landed a job working the front desk at a Days Inn when he was in college.
Fifteen years ago, he got a job in hotel sales and moved into hotel management.
Four years ago, a consultant he had worked with in the past recommended Calitri for the CVB presidency in Clermont County, Ohio.
When it comes to marketing Clermont County as a tourist destination, Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mark Calitri is master of the game.
His focus is on identifying key tourist attractions in the county and marketing them. As part of this effort, he recently spent two-plus days traveling Clermont County with an “experience guy” secret shopping for potential tourism destinations.
“You don’t’ realize how big (the county is) until you spend two days and two tanks of gas driving it,” Calitri said.
During their travels, he said, they visited key county attractions.
“We were at the Cincinnati Nature Center, Jungle Jim’s, the Tri-State Warbird Museum,” Calitri said. They also visited the various Underground Railroad sites throughout the New Richmond area.
Part of the idea of destination tourism for Clermont County is to identify regional partners in order to bring visitors to the county, he said. For example, people visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati might also be interested in visiting the New Richmond area to see and experience actual stops for the Underground Railroad. They also might enjoy visiting Ulysses S. Grant’s birth place in Point Pleasant.
The CVB will receive a report resulting from the secret shopping trip sometime in October and from it make plans. Read more
Representatives from the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the organization had a record year last year.
In 2015, Clermont County hotels logged a record number of rooms booked, hotel occupancies and revenues generated per room.
The information was released in a recent report from Smith Travel Research, a company that tracks supply and demand metrics for the hotel industry.
The county’s 12 hotels generated a total of approximately $23 million in revenue, according to Mark Calitri, president of the CVB.
This total represents a growth in revenues generated per room of 10.9 percent over 2014, according to the report. Read more