Ellie Westman Chin, who has served as president & CEO for the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau for the past six-and-a-half years, is stepping down from the position to become the new president & CEO of Destination Madison, the convention & visitors bureau in Madison, Wis.
During Westman Chin’s time with Visit Franklin, the bureau’s brand name, the release says Franklin and the communities of Williamson County have evolved into a year-round destination known around the world for a unique blend of music, history and Southern culture.
“We thank Ellie for the incredible leadership and vision she brought to Visit Franklin,” said Visit Franklin Board Chairman Andy Marshall in a press release. “Under Ellie’s leadership, Franklin and all of Williamson County have reached heights in tourism that many would have said were never possible. We are known on the world stage now, and that is thanks in large part to the efforts of Ellie and the team she has directed since 2014.
“We will miss Ellie’s enthusiasm and genuine support of the local hospitality community as she led the efforts for so many causes over the years, and we wish her all the best as she begins a new journey.”
During Westman Chin's tenure, annual visitors to Williamson County have increased 48% to more than 1.81 million annually and visitor spending in the county has grown to $497.2 million, an increase of almost $90 million annually since Westman Chin joined Visit Franklin as president & CEO.
In her time at Visit Franklin Westman Chin helped spearhead development initiatives that include the creation of a Music Tourism Convention in partnership with international partner Sound Diplomacy, making Franklin the pilot city for Mars Petcare’s Better Cities for Pets initiative, the launch of the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, creation of the Williamson County Sports Authority and Franklin Public Arts Commission, along with launching the popular Masters & Makers Trail.
Combined with sales and marketing efforts under the direction of Westman Chin, Visit Franklin increased the number of meetings, events and youth sports tournaments recruited to Williamson County exponentially, garnering national and international attention for Franklin and Williamson County. In that same time, 13 new hotels have been constructed in the county which represent 30% of all hotel rooms in the county.
Westman Chin, who was named the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association’s Women in Tourism & Hospitality Woman of the Year in 2018, also helped put Visit Franklin on a regional and national stage as a current member of the U.S. Travel Association board of directors, Destination International's Foundation board of directors, the Tennessee Tourism Committee, the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, the Nashville Predators Foundation, the Franklin Public Arts Commission and Williamson County Chamber of Commerce.
“It has truly been my honor to serve as president & CEO of Visit Franklin these past six-and-a-half years,” Westman Chin said. “Although it was a difficult decision to resign from my position, the Visit Franklin team is exceptional, and I’ve no doubt they, along with the board of directors, will continue to do great work in the community and continue to increase Williamson County’s tourism impact.”
Westman Chin’s last day with Visit Franklin is Jan. 29, and she, along with her husband, Ken, will transition to Madison shortly thereafter.