May 3, 2023

Becky Mandelbaum
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
360.671.3990 ext 208

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Announces New Marketing Director and Director of Destination Sales

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism (BWCT) is pleased to announce two new executive-level hires. Amber Vinup has been promoted to Marketing Director and Katy Willis has been hired as Director of Destination Sales.

“To say that I am thrilled to have Amber and Katy's three decades of combined experience in tourism and hospitality is an understatement. They bring a level of professionalism and an intimate knowledge of the industry and the region that will serve the organization and our partners well for years to come,” said BWCT President & CEO Dylan Deane-Boyle.

Amber Vinup has been with BWCT since 2009. During her 13 years with the organization, she has served the marketing department in several capacities, most recently as its Marketing & Data Manager, developing firsthand insight into how to strategically market Whatcom County as a premier, year-round destination.

"Having worked at Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism for more than a decade, I’ve been involved in countless marketing initiatives and campaigns, meaning I’ve experienced the full scope of our department’s successes and challenges. During this time, I’ve gained a nuanced understanding of how to promote our area’s local businesses and attractions to visitors nearby and across the globe. I couldn’t be more excited to put this experience into practice as our Marketing Director,” said Vinup.

Vinup was born in Bellingham but grew up in Lewiston, Idaho. She returned to Whatcom County more than 20 years ago, raising her son in Lynden. She now lives in Everson.

Willis grew up in the Pacific Northwest and attended Washington State University. She comes to BWCT after leading the Convention Services team for Visit Seattle for the past nine years. While there, Willis oversaw the strategy and implementation of key deliverables such as increasing registration counts, sourcing overflow hotel rooms, creating community and partner engagement and educational programs, and building relationships across the industry. Her efforts helped increase repeat customers and attract large-scale events to the downtown core including Emerald City Comic Con, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the forthcoming MLB All-Star Baseball game. Prior to Visit Seattle, Katy held various sales positions with Columbia Hospitality, where she oversaw the social, fundraising, and sponsorship markets for Bell Harbor International Conference Center and was Director for the World Trade Center Seattle, a membership and convening organization for downtown leaders.

Willis is settling into Bellingham with her two daughters, Capucine and Elle. Her parents were both raised in the Bellingham area and still live in town, so she’s familiar with Whatcom County and has found the community to be very welcoming so far.

“Whatcom County is one of the most incredible places in the country — we have the water, the mountains, gorgeous farmland, and incredible industry. Promoting our area is an honor and gives me a feeling of pride. We are so lucky to live here!” said Willis.                                   

Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County is an independent, 501 (c)(6) nonprofit economic development organization whose purpose is to improve the economy by marketing Bellingham and Whatcom County as premier, year-round visitor, sports, outdoor recreation, arts and cultural, and meetings destinations, and which supports all travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses and nonprofits in Whatcom County.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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