Cathy Ritter

Co-Chair, America's Culture

Managing tourism dynamics during times of prosperity and crisis, Cathy Ritter has built a reputation for partnership and turning insights into action. She founded Better Destinations LLC in spring 2021 as a flexible consulting practice bringing together teams of experts to address various destination challenges, especially relating to destination stewardship and regenerative tourism.

The Denver-based consultancy has built a specialty around assisting some of the nation’s top destinations to shape strategies that serve both visitors and the interests of local communities. Ritter has played leading roles in major planning efforts for Lake Tahoe, Vail, Travel Nevada, Glacier Country Tourism (near Glacier National Park), Missoula, and North Myrtle Beach

Currently, she is leading a study mapping a new framework for governance of Hawaii tourism as well as a plan to improve tourism in Moab/Grand County, Utah, while identifying paths to diversify the economy. She also has taken on new projects in Monterey, California and Park City, Utah.

Ritter is among one of a handful of people who have led tourism offices for multiple states, serving in that role for both Illinois and Colorado. As Director of the Colorado Tourism Office, she led creation of the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, now widely credited for sparking a national movement toward sustainable tourism. To educate Colorado travelers about protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources, she approached the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in 2017, creating a ground-breaking alliance that has become a model for many other destinations.

Ritter currently serves as a Trustee of the Travel Foundation, an international NGO focused on reducing impacts of tourism. She chaired the National Council of State Tourism Directors during the early pandemic years and served on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and as an officer of the Western States Tourism Policy Council.