Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 | 5:37 p.m.
Dann Lewis, who has served as director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism since early 2009, has resigned.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who chairs the commission, said in a statement today that the resignation is effective Dec. 17, nine days after the completion of the scheduled Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Reno.
“NCOT has certainly benefited from the knowledge and experience that Mr. Lewis has brought to the agency, demonstrated by the extraordinary success of our advertising activities promoting Nevada’s tourism attractions nationally and globally,” Krolicki said in the statement.
Larry Friedman, the commission’s deputy director of sales and industry partners, will become interim director.
Friedman oversees rural programs, including the agency’s Rural Roundup conference, and domestic and international sales, which include the work of NCOT’s international offices in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
Lewis came to Nevada from Maine and during his career worked on the “I Love New York” tourism campaign. Lewis took the Nevada job after a high-profile controversy in which Gov. Jim Gibbons attempted to circumvent the Tourism Commission to appoint a director.
Lewis, who guided the state’s tourism marketing program at a time when the commission’s operating budget was reduced by 41 percent, directed the “Let Nevada Capture Your Heart” ad campaigns last summer and winter. The $3.6 million campaigns resulted in a $31 return for every dollar invested, according to the TNS Global research company.
The Dec. 7-8 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be the first statewide gathering for the industry since 2007. After the event was canceled in 2008, Lewis advocated a scaled-down version of the meeting and about 200 people have registered for next month’s event.