George Zimmermann

George Zimmermann brings more than two decades of experience in tourism destination marketing and research to the Longwoods team and its clients. —  He was the Vice President responsible for Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation from October 2001 until April 2014.  Under his leadership, Travel Michigan and its advertising agency, McCann Detroit, created and launched the award-winning Pure Michigan branding campaign in 2006, a campaign that Forbes ranked among the top ten tourism promotion campaigns worldwide.  Initially a regional campaign, Pure Michigan became Michigan’s first significant national advertising campaign starting in 2009.   During his tenure, the annual tourism promotion budget rose from $5.7 million to $30 million — In 2012, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) named George one of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing”.   In 2011, the National Council of State Tourism Directors named him State Tourism Director of the Year for his work at Travel Michigan.  Prior to joining Travel Michigan, George served as Ohio’s Tourism Director, and he was named State Tourism Director of the Year in 1997. He is the only person to have received this honor twice.  — George served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association and the Board and Executive Committee of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.  He was elected as Chair of the Council four times. — George has consulted with and/or presented to the state tourism offices in Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as convention/visitor bureaus in Asheville, North Carolina; Chester County, the Poconos, State College and York, Pennsylvania; Lake Geneva and Green Bay, Wisconsin.  In 2014, he led the effort to create the National Council of State Tourism Directors Alumni Group and was elected the group’s first chair. — He is the author of three travel-related books and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.