Visit West Hollywood has announced the appointment of Tom Kiely – an experienced travel industry executive – as its chief executive officer. Kiely currently serves as executive vice president, tourism of the San Francisco Travel Association.
Kiely replaces Brad Burlingame, who was named president and CEO of what now is Visit West Hollywood in 1997 and died this past December. He will assume the Visit WeHo position on Oct. 17.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I am pleased that after an extensive search process, we have selected Tom Kiely to guide our organization into the future,” said Greg Harless, board chair of Visit West Hollywood and principal at Skye Partners. “The board is confident that his proven leadership and deep industry knowledge will enable him to effectively lead Visit West Hollywood in its mission to drive visitation and economic impact to the city.”
“I am honored to have been chosen to lead such a prestigious organization of professionals and look forward to working together to promote West Hollywood as the most vibrant and exciting destination in the USA,” Kiely said.
Visit West Hollywood is responsible for driving West Hollywood’s tourism industry, which contributes more than $900 million to the local economy annually. Tourism also is a major source of revenue for the City of West Hollywood, with the hotel room occupancy tax its largest source of revenue. The city expects to collect $23 million in room tax revenue in fiscal year 2016-17, an increase of 11% over the prior year.
Visit West Hollywood reported that in 2014, West Hollywood welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors, and tourism supported more than 5,500 jobs in the city. In January 2014, Visit West Hollywood restructured through the formation of a tourism business improvement district, which provided increased funding for tourism marketing.
As CEO, Kiely will provide executive oversight of Visit West Hollywood operations and be responsible for implementing the direction set by the board of directors. Kiely has experience in the industry. His past experience includes leadership positions with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Atlantis The Palm – Dubai and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Visit WeHo in recent months also has strengthened its oversight of the West Hollywood Design District business improvement district and the Sunset Strip BID. Harless has said the organization wants to streamline itself and strengthen its focus on promoting tourism.