Dear Partners,

After much consideration and planning, Marla Tambellini, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Explore Asheville, has decided to retire in the first quarter of 2024.

I am immensely grateful for and inspired by Marla’s dedication to this community. She will start her 29th year with Explore Asheville in July! I first met Marla back in 1995 and have been connected with her by the destination marketing industry throughout the years.

Her contributions are innumerable to outline in total. The following highlights detail her level of service to our industry and region:

  • Most recently, Marla was recognized in the 2020 Visit NC Winners Circle by Visit NC, an award given to people who have made significant and continuing contributions to the growth and success of North Carolina’s tourism industry.
  • Marla guided several comprehensive campaigns that helped reflect and project this place’s space as “Foodtopia,” Beer City, and the next great live music scene.
  • Over the years with her leadership, Explore Asheville has achieved many recognitions including an ESTO Destiny Award, STS Shining Light Award, multiple Adrian awards, and multiple DMANC and NCTIA awards.
  • She built one of the best in-house Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) PR teams in the country over the years and initiated online weekly fall color reports in 1995, resulting in national media coverage.
  • Marla spearheaded comprehensive social strategies which included the award-winning Dancing Santa viral video and the Five-Day Weekend campaign.
  • She organized the first Asheville on site NYC Media event in 2000 to showcase our new tourism products.

She has given freely of her time and expertise by serving on local and national boards and committees such as the Executive Committee & Marketing Chair for the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Inc.; Board President of the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project (ASAP); Asheville Master Plan Implementation Team, City of Asheville Landmarks Sub-Committee; Asheville Downtown Association; Asheville Urban Trails Committee; Southeast Tourism Society; Tourism Section Executive Board of the Public Relations Society of America; and Atlantic Caribbean Chapter Treasurer of the Society of American Travel Writers.

We will have plenty of time to honor Marla for her passion for this community, organization, and the many individuals she has mentored during her time with Explore Asheville. I know you will join me in acknowledging Marla and her legacy.

To have ample crossover time with Marla for succession planning, Explore Asheville launched a search for a Vice President of Marketing this week.

If you know of someone who would be interested and qualified to join the Explore Asheville team, please share with them the link to the job posting.

Vic Isley