Iowa Travel Industry Partners (iTIP), a newly formed statewide organization set to represent the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, has hired Chelsea Lerud as its Interim Director. Lerud has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Burlington Iowa Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2014.

“This is an important step in the foundation of iTIP,” said Rebecca Peters, iTIP President and Director of Okoboji Tourism. “Chelsea has a terrific understanding of the travel industry in Iowa and maintains the trust and respect from leaders across the state. She will be ready to lead on day one.”

As part of an industry-wide strategic sector plan in 2015, a goal was outlined to improve collaboration, partnerships, and expertise amongst stakeholders. These stakeholders have worked for the last several years to mold this concept into the Iowa Travel Industry Partners Association and Foundation. This new association aligns with the recommendation from the Governor’s Economic Growth Subgroup of Hospitality and Tourism industry professionals to develop a public/private organization to represent the interests of Iowa’s tourism industry as part of a statewide strategic plan for tourism, including investment strategy.

“Our industry, now more than ever, needs a unified voice for advocacy and brand promotion,” added Peters. “iTIP aims to work closely alongside the Iowa Tourism Office, Iowa Lodging Association, Iowa Restaurant Association and many others to better advance this important $9.26 billion industry in Iowa. We couldn’t have found a better first leader than Chelsea Lerud.”

“I’m excited for the future of tourism in Iowa. Our industry has needed a more unified voice for a long time. I’ve been a part of the planning process for this organization since the beginning. I’m honored the Board of Directors, my peers, believe in my abilities and share my vision for the future. I’m ready to partner and help lead our industry,” said Lerud.

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