JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Visit Jacksonville has a new President and CEO to help increase tourism in our area. After a nationwide search, Visit Jacksonville chose Paul Astleford as its leader. Astleford comes to Jacksonville from Experience Columbus, in Columbus, Ohio, where he has served as president and CEO since 2000.
“I see Jacksonville as a city with huge potential as a destination for corporate, group and leisure travel,” said Astleford. “I look forward to working with the city, community leaders and our hospitality industry and partners to elevate the awareness of all the assets that northeast Florida has to offer.”
Astleford has more than 42 years of hospitality industry experience, including destination-marketing experience as president and CEO for the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau. He also worked as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Disney Resorts and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Janice Lowe, chair for Visit Jacksonville’s board of directors, said the decision to hire Astleford was based on his strong experience and knowledge of the industry.
“The tourism industry brings in over 3.2 million visitors annually to Jacksonville which have an economic impact of over $1.6 billion. Visit Jacksonville’s sales efforts bring in over 400 conventions, meetings and sports groups annually into Duval County and help to support the 43,000 hospitality industry employees in Northeast Florida. With Paul’s vast experience we expect he will be able to assist in growing these numbers to record levels.”
Astleford starts work at Visit Jacksonville