100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Christopher Thompson, CDME


President & CEO, Brand USA
DMAI Member Since: 2012

Christopher L. Thompson is President and CEO of Brand USA, the public-private partnership responsible for launching the United States’ first-ever nationally coordinated tourism marketing effort. In this role, Chris is responsible for accelerating the organization’s efforts on building and executing effective marketing strategies to increase inbound travel to the United States, resulting in increased U.S. exports and increased employment. These programs consist of marketing, public relations, and partnership programs critical to the overall marketing of the United States as the world’s premier travel destination, as well as communications programs to provide travelers with vital information that inspires and makes it easier to explore the vast range of experiences and destinations available in the U.S.A.

Chris previously held the position of President andCEO for VISIT FLORIDA®, where he led the state's DMO in partnership with the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, the Florida Commission on Tourism and the statewide tourism industry. With over 30 years of professional experience including 27 years in tourism at the state and local levels, his tourism career began in 1983 with the Division of Tourism in the former Florida Department of Commerce. He was appointed Bureau Chief over Domestic Tourism in 1986, and in 1988 was appointed the first Executive Director of the Leon County (Florida) Tourist Development Council, adding the position of President and CEO of the Tallahassee (Florida) Area CVB in 1991.

In 2009, Chris was named one of the "Top Twenty Five Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing" by HSMAI. In 2010, he received the prestigious CDME designation, while leading VISIT FLORIDA as the first-ever state DMO to receive accreditation by DMAI.