Maryann Ferenc, ferocious defender of tourism, appointed to national advisory board
One of Tampa Bay's more voracious defenders of Florida's tourism industry has a new bully pulpit. Maryann Ferenc, founder and CEO of Tampa's Mise en Place restaurant and event company -- who also serves as board chair of Tampa Bay & Co., Hillsborough County's group promoting travel and conventions -- was just appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The advisory body assists the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States.
(Photo: Maryann Ferenc, front, and Dianne Jacob of Tampa Bay & Co. at Mise en Place in Tampa, by Atoyia Deans of the St. Petersburg Times.).
In a statement, Ferenc said she was honored to join the advisory board and, as is her mantra, reiterated the contribution tourism makes to the U.S. and Florida economy."I look forward to sharing our vision for travel and tourism and how we can create an even more enriching experience for visitors to the U.S.," she said.
The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board consists of members representing a broad cross-section of the travel and tourism industry including transportation services, financial institutions, hotels and restaurants.
In an interview last fall, Ferenc and other area tourism officials, took exception to what they considered was a growing bias by economic development leaders against tourism as a has-been, low-wage industry. As Ferenc noted in that interview, it sure would be hard to recruit any significant business here if all the tourism-driven cultural, entertainment and sports facilities were not around to make this place a competitively interesting place to live and work. Here is that story.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist