Lane County’s tourism chief grows awareness


Third-generation Alaskan Kari Westlund, 49, has become a resident expert on Lane County during the nearly 15 years that she has headed the local convention and visitors bureau.

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Third-generation Alaskan Kari Westlund, 49, has become a resident expert on Lane County during the nearly 15 years that she has headed the local convention and visitors bureaus president and CEO of Travel Lane County, her chief responsibility is selling Lane County as a convention and tourism destination.

When Westlund took the job in 1996, the bureau had an annual budget of about $900,000 and a staff of about of about eight or nine people. Since then, its budget has doubled to $1.8 million and staff has tripled to about 26, she said.

Much of that expansion stems from the agency’s shift in focus from the Eugene-Springfield metro area to all of Lane County. But successful participation in high-profile events, such as Eugene’s hosting of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, and subsequent national and international track events, also plays a role.

Westlund was recently awarded the Governor’s Tourism Award, which recognized 30 years of contributions to the visitor industry, including eight years as an Oregon Tourism Commissioner and serving in other statewide leadership roles.

Read more in today’s Register Guard.




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