Christopher Thompson, the former head of travel promotion for the state of Florida, has been hired as president and chief executive officer at Brand USA, the nation’s destination marketing organization.

Thompson replaces interim president and CEO Caroline Beteta, who took over in June after Jim Evans resigned after just over a year on the job. Beteta, who also heads up Visit California, will remain chairwoman of the Brand USA board of directors. Brand USA, financed through a combination of public and private funding, was created via the Travel Promotion Act in 2010 to promote the U.S. to international visitors.

Thompson joins Brand USA from Visit Florida, the state’s convention and visitors bureau, where he has worked since 1997. In the past 12 years at Visit Florida he served as senior vice president, chief operating officer, and, since 2009, as president and CEO.  

At Brand USA, Thompson will be responsible for accelerating the organization’s marketing efforts to increase inbound travel to the United States.

“Brand USA has achieved significant milestones over the past year, and has an ambitious set of goals charted to become the world’s leading global destination marketing organization,” says Thompson. “I look forward to collaborating with the travel industry and our partners in the United States government in order to generate globally leading job creation, GDP, export growth, and revenue for our nation through the power of travel.”

U.S. Travel Association applauded the selection. "Chris Thompson is one of the strongest destination marketing leaders in the country, and he is the best person to lead Brand USA," says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "With nearly 30 years of experience, Chris knows that marketing the United States is a collaborative effort, and I look forward to the partnerships he will build across our industry as he leads Brand USA to new heights."