FRANKLIN, Tenn. – President & CEO Ellie Westman Chin is stepping down from the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit Franklin) to become the new President & CEO of Destination Madison, the convention & visitors bureau in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We thank Ellie for the incredible leadership and vision she brought to Visit Franklin,” said Visit Franklin Board Chairman Andy Marshall. “Under Ellie’s leadership, Franklin and all of Williamson County has reached heights in tourism that many would have said were never possible. We are known on the world stage now, and that is thanks in large part to the efforts of Ellie and the team she has directed since 2014.”
Marshall added, “We will miss Ellie’s enthusiasm and genuine support of the local hospitality community as she led the efforts for so many causes over the years, and we wish her all the best as she begins a new journey.”
Westman Chin has served as President & CEO of Visit Franklin since July 2014. In that time Franklin and the communities of Williamson County, Tennessee have evolved into a year-round destination known around the world for a unique blend of music, history, and southern culture.
During Westman Chin’s tenure, annual visitors to Williamson County have increased 48% to over 1.81 million annually and visitor spending in the county has grown to $497.2 million, an increase of almost $90 million annually since Westman Chin joined Visit Franklin as President & CEO.
In her time at Visit Franklin Westman Chin helped spearhead development initiatives that include the creation of a Music Tourism Convention in partnership with international partner Sound Diplomacy, making Franklin the pilot city for Mars Petcare’s Better Cities for Pets initiative, the launch of the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, creation of the Williamson County Sports Authority and Franklin Public Arts Commission, along with launching the popular Masters & Makers Trail.
Combined with sales and marketing efforts under the direction of Westman Chin, Visit Franklin increased the number of meetings, events, and youth sports tournaments recruited to Williamson County exponentially, garnering unprecedented national and international attention for Franklin and Williamson County. In that same time, 13 new hotels have been constructed in the county which represent 30% of all hotel rooms in the county.
Westman Chin, who was named the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association’s Women in Tourism & Hospitality Woman of the Year in 2018, also helped put Visit Franklin on a regional and national stage as a current member of the U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors, Destination International’s Foundation Board of Directors, Tennessee Tourism Committee, Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, Nashville Predators Foundation, Franklin Public Arts Commission, and Williamson County Chamber of Commerce.
“It has truly been my honor to serve as President & CEO of Visit Franklin these past 6 1/2 years, said Westman Chin. “Although it was a difficult decision to resign from my position, the Visit Franklin team is exceptional, and I’ve no doubt they, along with the board of directors, will continue to do great work in the community and continue to increase Williamson County’s tourism impact.”
Westman Chin’s last day with Visit Franklin is January 29, and she, along with her husband Ken, will transition to Madison shortly thereafter.
ABOUT VISIT FRANKLIN Visit Franklin is the public brand name of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Visit Franklin is the official destination marketing organization for Franklin and the unique communities of Williamson County, Tennessee. Visit Franklin stimulates economic growth through the promotion of travel and tourism assets such as history, music, attractions, entertainment, the arts, and events to visitors from around the world. For information on Franklin and Williamson County, visit us on the web at VisitFranklin.com.