Frankfort, Ky. – The new commissioner of the Department of Travel and Tourism is Kristen Branscum, according to Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson.
Branscum, a native of Russell Springs, most recently served as the head of marketing for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture since 2012.
“Kristen Branscum’s extensive marketing experience and knowledge of Kentucky will be a great benefit for our tourism industry,” Parkinson said. “We look forward to working with Kristen to serve and grow our tourism industry to make it even better.”
Tourism had an economic impact of more than $13 billion and was responsible for nearly 180,000 jobs during 2014, according to an annual study conducted by the cabinet.
The Department of Travel and Tourism promotes and markets Kentucky to visitors and media, operates eight welcome centers and provides support to the entire local tourism industry.
“Kentucky’s tourism industry has always held a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside these industry professionals to promote our great commonwealth,” Branscum said. “It is an honor to serve in Governor Bevin’s administration and I look forward to working with him, Secretary Parkinson and the industry to grow this vital sector of Kentucky’s economy.”
Branscum has served in various roles in the Department of Agriculture since 2008. As director of marketing, Branscum has overseen 50 employees in the Department of Agriculture and has successfully marketed the Kentucky Proud program that promotes the state’s agricultural products.
From 2004 to 2008, Branscum was the tourism development director in the Department of Travel and Tourism.
Her appointment is effective Jan. 25.