Cathy Ritter, Founder and CEO of Better Destinations LLC, draws upon nearly a decade of experience as state tourism director for both Colorado and Illinois in bringing together expert resources for destination management solutions, especially relating to sustainable and regenerative tourism.
Cathy’s work to create the Colorado Tourism Roadmap is widely credited with leading a national movement toward responsible tourism. To inspire Colorado travelers, she approached the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, creating the ground-breaking Care for Colorado Principles as a model for other destinations. As Illinois state tourism director from 1999-2003, she led development of a statewide strategic plan that guided the office for nearly two decades.
Now a Trustee of The Travel Foundation, Cathy is immediate past chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors and has served on the U.S. Travel Association’s Executive Committee and as an officer for the Western States Tourism Policy Council. She is a contributor to a new book edited by the Center for Responsible Travel, Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future (Island Press, 2021), She serves on the Parks, Preservation and Public Spaces Advisory Council for America 250, the nonprofit formed to plan the celebration of the nation’s semiquencentennial in 2026.
Since founding Better Destinations in May 2021, Cathy has been co-leading creation of a first-ever destination stewardship plan for Glacier Country Tourism in Western Montana and is launching a destination management planning process for Destination North Myrtle Beach. Her client roster also includes the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; the Port Aransas (TX) Tourism Bureau; CrowdRiff, a tourism-focused technology company; and Visit Durango (CO).