Industries Hotels/Tourism

Eric Terry will lead Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association

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The Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (VHTA)  in Richmond has hired Eric D. Terry as its president. He succeeds Executive Director Barry Hawkins, who retired after seven years in the position.

For Hawkins, the job brings him back to Virginia after 31 years in Texas. A graduate of the Hospitality and Tourism Management School at Virginia Tech, Terry returned to Virginia from Houston to head up the association, effective Jan. 1.

“I am excited to move to Richmond to be closer to family on the Peninsula and to my beloved Hokies,” says Terry. “My hospitality career started at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, so I guess I’ve come full circle.”

In Texas, Terry oversaw hotel, golf and club development, as well as sales and marketing efforts for Redstone Cos. Hospitality.

Before that, he managed sales, marketing, and revenue management for more than 30 hotel and resort properties for Benchmark Hospitality International in The Woodlands, Texas.   Since Benchmark had operations in Virginia at such properties as The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach and Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Terry said he has worked in the state in recent years.

He also started an event-marketing firm in Dallas working with the Food Network, NASCAR, Chuck Norris and Indy Racing League events and properties.

The tourism industry is Virginia’s second-largest, generating $21.2 billion in revenue in 2012. VHTA provides a unified voice for the restaurant, lodging, travel and hospitality suppliers associations.

“The VHTA is a critical ally in the promotion of tourism in Virginia," Rita McClenny, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp., said in a statement. "We depend on business leaders to speak up for their industry in the General Assembly, in the media and in their communities.  Eric Terry brings many strengths to this position, and I look forward to collaborating with him and the VHTA to make Virginia an even more dynamic state for citizens here and elsewhere to enjoy."

Terry is a member of Meeting Planners International and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. He says his goal for the VHTA is “to build additional membership programs and resources while being a strong advocate in the General Assembly and across the state for those restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions that make Virginia such an ideal place for tourism and visitors.”

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