July 7, 2022

Becky Mandelbaum, Communications Manager
Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County
(316) 734-0702

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Announces Retirement of CEO Sandy Ward

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism (BWCT) announces that Sandy Ward will retire as President and Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2022, after nearly six years of service for the organization.

Under Ward’s leadership, Bellingham and Whatcom County set all-time records for tourism visitation and spending (pre-pandemic). Among her contributions to the organization, Ward oversaw the creation of the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism Promotion Area (TPA), a dedicated marketing fund assessed from guests at hotels with more than 40 rooms in Bellingham and unincorporated Whatcom County. The fund will help Bellingham and Whatcom County remain competitive in the leisure travel market. She is also credited with developing a countywide wayfinding system, forming the Bellingham Whatcom County Lodging Association, and, most recently, leading the tourism and hospitality industry’s pandemic recovery efforts.

BWCT Board Chair and Inn at Lynden General Manager Teri Treat commented, “Sandy is the shining star of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. Her legacy includes the transformation of our organization into a dynamic, future-focused, technology-driven, financially sound powerhouse of marketing and promotion. Her passion for teamwork, partnership, and support for tourism-related businesses will not be forgotten. On behalf of the entire board of directors, we are so grateful for the opportunity to work with Sandy and applaud her contributions. Thank you!”

“Serving as Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism’s CEO and overseeing promotions and programs these past five years has been a great honor and one of the best professional journeys of my life,” said Ward. “BWCT employs some of the most creative, committed, and consistent professionals in the industry. While there is never a great time to say farewell, we have an excellent team and board in place to keep momentum going. I look forward to working closely with our team and industry stakeholders through the next six months to ensure our continued growth as we move out of the pandemic and toward the next exciting chapter in Bellingham and Whatcom County’s future.”

The Board of Directors and an independent search firm will conduct a nationwide search for Ward’s successor, with an announcement expected in late 2022.

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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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