Carolyn S. Hill, CEO of Travel Southern Oregon since 2003, has announced her retirement effective December 31, 2016. Under Hill's tenure the organization has grown from a small regional media buying and brokering company to a powerhouse hospitality and tourism association, frequently cited as the best among the regional destination marketing organizations in the state.

During Hill’s tenure with Travel Southern Oregon, visitor spending in the seven-county region rose from $944.9 million in 2003 to $1.3 billion in 2015 - a 35.4 percent increase, according to the Oregon Travel Impacts report compiled by Dean Runyan Associates.

“Carolyn has proven herself an innovative, devoted and fervent leader for Southern Oregon’s tourism industry,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “She consistently brought strategic insight, thoughtful perspectives and a solution-driven approach to her work and her region.”

Chief accomplishments during Hill's time with Travel Southern Oregon include being the recipient of three awards at the annual Oregon Governor's Conference on Tourism, culminating this year in the Governor's Award for her efforts in establishing a sister park agreement between Crater Lake National Park and Wuyishan National Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in China.  The award was shared with Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman.

Hill, a member of the Joint Legislative Committee for the Oregon-Fujian Sister State since 2009, has been a regional and state leader in developing the fast-growing China visitor market. The agreement, signed February 25, 2016, helps promote Crater Lake National Park to the state’s No. 1 overseas travel market. It also encourages cultural and environmental study exchanges between the two parks.

“The economic and cultural advantages of this relationship are immeasurable,” said Hill. “This is globalization at its very best and that’s where we should be going."

In presenting the 2016 award, Davidson praised the efforts of Hill and Ackerman in making the sister city program a reality. He termed the award “the pinnacle of achievement in Oregon’s travel and tourism industry.”

Hill demonstrated her leadership in tourism development by serving on numerous statewide committees and boards, including the Oregon Tourism & Hospitality Consortium and the Oregon Destination Marketing Organization.

She also serves as the executive director of the Crater Lake National Park Trust.

“It's been an honor and pleasure to work with talented groups of volunteer board members representing the beautiful seven-county region we call Southern Oregon,” said Hill. “Through my consulting business, Hill Communications, I will remain involved in endeavors supporting Crater Lake and other programs. I also look forward to spending more time with my family.”

Hill is working closely with Danielle Raines, president of Travel Southern Oregon’s board of directors, and other members of the board’s leadership team to guarantee a smooth transition on January 1, 2017.

“Carolyn’s leadership has been steadfast, deliberate, and loyal to tourism and its partners,” said Raines. “We will miss her, and look forward to hearing of her next adventures.”