Visit Durango, a nonprofit organization and the official online tourism resource for the area, hired Weylin Ryan to fill the new role of sustainability and policy manager. The tourism group also appointed six new members to the board who began their three-year terms at the turn of the new year.
Rachel Welsh, public relations and communications manager at Visit Durango, said in a news release that the tourism group is focusing its marketing efforts on “sustainable and regenerative tourism.” It created the sustainability and policy manager position to carry out its new marketing mission.
Ryan is a longtime Durango resident and previously worked with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, according to Visit Durango’s news release.
“He is passionate about creating programs and initiatives that benefit the visitor, resident and environment,” the release says. “Weylin also has a master’s degree in sustainable tourism from Arizona State University.”
The new board members are:
Matt Salka, chairman of the La Plata County Board of County Commissioners and a county resident of 22 years, was among those who joined the Visit Durango board in 2022.
Salka has served as mayor in Bayfield and was a board member for La Plata County Economic Development Alliance and the Durango-La Plata Airport Commission. He is a current member of the Economic Development Steering Committee.
“His vast experience in local government and tourism will greatly benefit the Visit Durango team in assessing the county’s needs and aligning marketing strategies to better serve residents,” the news release says.
Roberto Casanueva, Outdoorsy special operations manager, manages the original Outdoorsy brick-and-mortar site. He brings more than 13 years of project management, sales and marketing experience to Visit Durango.
Ken Stone comes to the board after decades in the hospitality and tourism sector. He has served on the board of directors at Telluride Tourism Association and the Gunnison/Crested Butte Tourism Association. He is the director of sales and marketing at Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa.
Hampton Inn Durango General Manager Jenny Roberts has also joined the Visit Durango board. She has spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry and served on the Durango Area Hospitality and Lodging Association board of directors.
“Jenny has connections with most hotels and lodging partners in the area,” the news release says. “She plans to use her connections to assist Visit Durango in facilitating participation in destination management and marketing campaigns.”
Amber Andrews, lodging and events coordinator for The Black Diamond Lodge and co-owner of Durango Like a Local, is skilled at branding and targeted marketing, Welsh says in the news release.
“She plans to use her expertise in hospitality to assist the Visit Durango team in their marketing strategy,” the news release says.
Visit Durango also welcomed Nicholas Borst, owner and chief operations officer at Durango Cannabis Co., to the board. Borst invested in the city of Durango, where he’s been a resident since 2009, by creating a wholesale cannabis business, according to the release.
“Nicholas plans to use his skill set to help the Visit Durango team build upon agrotourism programming in Durango and create events that attract sustainably minded individuals,” the release says.