Visit Salt Lake announced the appointment of Kaitlin Eskelson as its new president and CEO, the fourth individual to hold this position in the organization’s 36-year history. Eskelson began March 16 and is leading VSL’s efforts to improve and increase Salt Lake’s visitor economy by attracting and providing support to meetings, conventions, events and leisure travelers while being a leader in environmental responsibility.
“We are so fortunate to have had a long history of highly qualified people leading Visit Salt Lake and, as a search committee, we wanted to make sure we did everything in our power to continue that legacy,” says Taylor Vriens, chair of VSL’s Board of Directors and search committee. “We’re confident Kaitlin will continue that tradition. Kaitlin’s energy, vision, industry knowledge and tremendous preparation set her apart in the end. We had a very thorough, national search and received incredible interest in Salt Lake from a host of extremely talented and capable candidates. We are excited to welcome Kaitlin to the helm of Visit Salt Lake and are confident she will help move our destination forward to new heights.”
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Visit Salt Lake team and am honored to be in this role, which is both exciting and surreal,” says Eskelson. “Salt Lake is an incredible destination. It’s an incomparable combination of urban ethos and mountain mantra paired with world-class community, culture and cuisine. I look forward to sharing the Salt Lake story with the world.”
Eskelson’s career within the visitor economy is extensive and varied, including a seven-year stint with VSL from 2006-2013 as director of tourism sales and marketing. Following her initial time with VSL, Eskelson was the director of partner relations and international strategy for the Utah Office of Tourism from 2013-2017 and, most recently, executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Association. Early in her career, Eskelson worked with the Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau.
In addition to these positions, Eskelson sat on the U.S. Travel’s ESTO Development Team and Brand USA’s Executive Marketing Committee, and received U.S. Travel’s 2017 “Best Cooperative Marketing Program” award as well as VSL’s 2009 Dianne Nelson Binger Sales Leadership Award. In 2019, she authored the Utah Hospitality & Tourism Management Career Technical Education curriculum placing an emphasis on workforce development within high schools.
Eskelson received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah.
The VSL President & CEO Search Committee was comprised of a wide range of Salt Lake community members representing various interests, including:
- Taylor Vriens, Chair – President, Modern Expo & Events and VSL Board Chair
- Chris Erickson, Vice Chair – GM, Grand America Hotel and Immediate Past VSL Board Chair
- Erin Litvack – Salt Lake County Deputy Mayor
- Dan Hayes – GM, Salt Palace Convention Center & Mountain America Expo Center
- Nancy Volmer – Director of Communications and Marketing, Salt Lake City International Airport
- Carlene Walker – former State Senator and former VSL Board Chair
- Christine Redgrave – Zions Bank and VSL Board Chair Elect
- Alan Rindlisbacher – EDCUtah and former VSL Board Chair
- Ric Tanner – GM, Hotel Monaco
- Erik Christiansen – Attorney, Parsons, Behle & Latimer and former VSL Board Chair
The committee was assisted in its search by Mike Gamble and Kellie Henderson of SearchWide Global, a nationally recognized search firm that specializes in C level DMO and Hospitality searches.
Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a vibrant, modern destination brimming with unexpected dining, lodging, nightlife and entertainment options, a destination well suited for convention and leisure travel alike. In partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake’s mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility. For more info, visit www.VisitSaltLake.com.