Take caution and check for road closures due to wildfires in the North Cascades.
October 19, 2022

Becky Mandelbaum, Communications Manager
Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County
360.671.3990 ext 208

Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County CEO Sandy Ward Inducted into Washington Tourism Hall of Leadership

The award recognizes Ward’s career as a leader in the state’s tourism industry. 

Bellingham, WA) Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County is proud to announce that CEO Sandy Ward was recently inducted into the Washington Tourism Hall of Leadership. Established this year, the Hall of Leadership recognizes up to three professionals and volunteers each year who have made “significant, positive, and long-lasting contributions to the industry in Washington State.” 

Ward is among the first group of industry members to receive the new honor. This year’s other inductees included Ryan Malane, vice president of marketing and co-owner of the Black Ball Ferry Line, who passed away in June 2022, and Dr. Terry Umbreit, who led the Washington State University School of Hospitality Business Management for 25 years.

A ceremony honoring Ward and the other inductees took place at the State of Washington Tourism Conference at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center on October 12. Leslie Womack from the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle and John Cooper from Yakima Valley Tourism presented the award, noting Ward’s role in forming the Washington Tourism Alliance; establishing Boeing Future of Flight as a State of Washington premier visitor attraction, particularly to international audiences; and leading destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in Snohomish County and Bellingham | Whatcom County. 

“Sandy has not only represented her organizations and destinations well but has also been a champion of tourism for the state of Washington,” Womack said.  

Cooper added that, “Sandy is creative, insightful, and willing to try new things. . . Without a doubt, she’s been a positive influence in the community she served and the people she’s touched.”

Ward received a standing ovation at the ceremony, which was attended by individuals from DMOs and tourism partners across the state. Though she was unable to attend in person, she recorded a thank you video that was played for the audience. “I am so very honored to have been selected as one of the first inductees into the Washington Tourism Hall of Leadership. . . My time serving destinations and attractions in the state of Washington represents some of the best years of my life. I’m humbled, and I thank you for this prestigious honor which punctuates my career and serves as a fantastic send-off.”  

Ward has worked in Washington State tourism for more than 30 years and has been with Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County since early 2017. She will retire at the end of 2022. A national search for her replacement is underway. 

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

Places to Stay
Getting Here
Read Blogs

Photo Contest
Contact Us
Tourism Talk

Industry Resources
Join as a Partner
Media Inquiries
About Us
Site by Drozian Webworks
©2024 Visit Bellingham Whatcom County