As Director of the Colorado Tourism Office since December 2015, Cathy Ritter leads a nearly $20 million initiative to maximize the potential of tourism in a state that attracted 82.4 million visitors in 2016. During her first year, she led development of the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, identifying opportunities to build the state’s competitive advantage, while promoting sustainable tourism and leading travelers to less-visited destinations.
Previously, Cathy was Illinois’ state travel director, leading a major recovery initiative post 9/11 and developing a widely embraced statewide strategic blueprint for tourism growth. She began her career as a newspaper journalist, winning multiple reporting awards and serving as a statehouse reporter in the Illinois Capitol, before joining state government as a media spokesperson and policymaker. More recently, she served as a top marketing executive for three major not-for-profit senior living systems, leading development of new offerings, shaping health care reform initiatives and driving culture change.
Cathy was named in November 2016 to the U.S. Transportation Department’s new National Advisory Committee for Travel and Tourism Infrastructure. She also is a member of the U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors and the Western States Tourism Policy Council and chairs the Task Force on Sustainable Tourism for the National Council of State Tourism Directors.