OAKHURST – On Aug. 14, the Board of Directors of destination marketing organization Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau named current Director of Marketing Rhonda Salisbury as the bureau’s Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dan Cunning in that position. The change becomes official on Sept. 1.
A longtime travel marketing expert, Salisbury has been with Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau since 2011, but her experience endorsing Madera County tourism stretches nearly 30 years.
“I’m excited and honored to accept this position,” says Salisbury.
“I’ve been in tourism for 28 years in Madera County, and this is exactly where I hoped my career would go.”
Rhonda has served on the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau Board of Directors for five years, including three as its president.
Previously employed by a number of prime Madera County properties, including The Pines Resort at Bass Lake and Paradise Springs, north of Oakhurst, Salisbury says she looks forward to furthering connections with partners in tourism, locally and with other DMO’s and travel organizations throughout the United States and Internationally.
Salisbury’s recent projects include the creation of the very successful First Annual Yosemite Festival in Oakhurst Community Park, which celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant Act by Abraham Lincoln. She was instrumental in landing the prestigious “Lure & Lore of Yosemite” collection of historic memorabilia which is on exhibit in the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau lobby through Dec. 31.
Prior to that, Salisbury and Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau collaborated with Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fresno Yosemite International Airport and Delaware North Companies to produce a cooperative marketing effort, Majestic Mountain Loop, to showcase travel in and between Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. Their efforts garnered the prestigious 2014 Visit California Poppy Award “to celebrate California’s innovative, creative spirit and raise the bar for travel marketing statewide and beyond.” (www.visitcalifornia.com). They also received a 2013 Best Idea Program award from the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Salisbury has donated countless hours volunteering for numerous local groups and community organizations. She was a part of the Oakhurst Community Park’s Elegant Auction Committee for 15 years, helped raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, walks in the American Heart Walk and participates in many other charity events.
Currently she serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the High Sierra Visitors Council, Chairman of the Yosemite Grant 150th Anniversary PR/Communications Committee, and an Ambassador for Cal Travel Association. She was previously on the Board of Directors for the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce.
“Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau is a great team, and we work really well together,” she said. “We’re looking forward to taking our marketing efforts to a whole new level, resulting in more visitation for Madera County. From the valley to the foothills, this is an exciting time in tourism.”
Dan Cunning remains with Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau in a newly-formed position, Director of Special Projects Development. In this capacity he will focus on developing sports tourism, an off-road vehicle park, an equestrian center, team sports tournaments. He will further his already-established relationship with California Travel Association. “Madera County has a diverse array of attractions, and one of the best appeals is the wealth of sports tourism opportunities,” said Cunning.