Eugene, OR — The Women in Travel and Tourism International (witti) announced winners of their first Top Women in Travel Awards at their 2017 conference in Washington D.C. earlier this month.

12 categories of awards were presented and 45 women from across the world were honored. Ms. Westlund was selected as one of four recipients in the Outstanding Woman in Tourism Marketing category.   

"It's important to highlight the very significant contributions of women working in travel and tourism today," said Mandala Research CEO and witti founder Laura Mandala. "These champions of travel and tourism are not only advancing their companies and the industry, but are also mentoring and recruiting the next generation of travel professionals."

"It is an honor and a surprise to be acknowledged by witti. Our industry has so many outstanding women leaders that I’m humbled to be included ." stated Travel Lane County President/CEO Kari Westlund. 

"Kari Westlund is a visionary. The opportunity to be mentored by her led me to accepting a job in the travel and tourism industry" noted Andy Vobora, Travel Lane County's Vice President of Stakeholder Relations. "She has had an impact on so many people within our organization, the community and the greater travel industry that the news of this award doesn't come as a surprise to any of us who know her."  

Kari Westlund has served as President/CEO of Travel Lane County since 1996 and has 34 years of destination marketing experience. She served as CEO of convention and visitor bureaus in Kodiak and Juneau, and worked in Alaska implementing motorcoach tours of Kotzebue, establishing and managing cultural interpretive programs. Under her guidance Travel Lane County successfully rebranded as Eugene, Cascades & Coast, setting our destination apart by showing the variety of opportunities our region offers. In February 2016, Kari was appointed as an at-large board member of the U.S. Travel Association. She is a former chair of the Oregon Tourism Commission, Oregon DMO, Destination Marketing Association West Foundation, Oregon Track Club and Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene governing boards, along with numerous other local and statewide positions. in which she is active.

About witti

witti's mission is to enhance the success of women in the travel and tourism industry through peer-to-peer networking, mentoring, lead sharing, and giving back to the global travel community in meaningful ways. The specific benefits witti offers its members include: conferences and social networking connections; opportunity for recognition at the Top Women in Travel awards; education and professional development; advocacy in promoting the visibility of women in the senior ranks of the travel industry; and research on the status of women in industry.

For more information about witti, contact: Laura Mandala,  Laura@womenintravelandtourism.com, visit womenintravelandtourism.com, and follow @wittiorg on Twitter.