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Visit Sun Valley Names New Director
Ray Gadd is the new executive director of Visit Sun Valley.
Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Ray Gadd has been named the new executive director of Visit Sun Valley following the recent resignation of Scott Fortner.

Gadd, an avid photographer, was formerly Visit Sun Valley’s director of Marketing and PR.

Born and raised in Idaho, Gadd has called Sun Valley home for 14 years. As executive director, he will continue to promote the greater Sun Valley area to local, regional and national audiences, build stakeholder relationships, and oversee the budget.

This includes highlighting not only the Wood River Valley’s world-class outdoor activities, but also its extensive arts, culture, and culinary offerings, and the innovative companies founded and based in the region.

"I am honored to be entrusted with this position," said Gadd. "I look forward to partnering with community organizations to help manage both growth and tourism in a way that creates positive visitor experiences and also maintains the quality of life that the local community values.”

Visit Sun Valley Board Chair Mike Burchmore said the board is excited to have Gadd assume his new duties.

"His extensive experience within Visit Sun Valley, coupled with his deep understanding of the region's unique offerings as an avid outdoorsman, former ski racer, and professional photographer position him well to lead the organization into a bright future,” said Burchmore.

Fortner resigned from Visit Sun Valley in February to pursue new proects and focus on his health and familyafter serving as its executive director for seven years. Under his leaderhip the organization achieved:

Continued year-over-growth in tourism tax collection. These tax collections have gone on to help support local police and fire departments and contributed to Mountain Rides community bus service, and, most significantly reflect new milestones for lodging occupancies (most of which came during shoulder seasons and winter need periods).

Implemented the first full-resident and part-time resident sentiment survey on tourism, using the feedback to develop the first 5-year strategic plan for the organization. 

Administered the “Stay Sunny” visitor education campaign, which garnered national recognition as an innovative way to express proper guest behaviors.

Transitioned the organization from a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) to Destination Marketing and Management (DMMA), which included visitor education and visitor experience duties.

Expanded the presence and influence of the organization by collaborating with various community organizations with ties to the visitor economy.

Led the awareness and notoriety of Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve designation as part of the organization's promotional efforts,      procuring numerous stories from national media outlets.      

Played a key role in renewing the Local Option Tax (LOT) in 2017 LOT for air service and more recently the 2023 LOT for Housing and Air by more than a supermajority.

Visit Sun Valley is the non-profit destination management and marketing organization tasked with promoting commercial air service to the region and marketing the region to potential tourists. It is partially funded by a 0.5 percent Local Option Tax (LOT) approved by local voters in 2023 and collected from tourism-related businesses.

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