Executive recruitment firm Searchwide has been hired to find the next Executive Director for the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau following the retirement announcement made by current director Jim Ricketts in fall 2015. Ricketts will continue to serve as the tourism department's director until April 1, 2016.

While Ricketts' professional background includes the U.S. Navy and Norfolk Port and Industrial Authority, he has dedicated his majority of his career to the growth of the travel industry as an active member of the U.S. Travel Association. As director of the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ricketts has served in numerous regional, state and national leadership capacities to include: Travel Industry Association of America Government Relations Committee (2004-2006), Virginia Tourism Corporation (Vice Chair, Board of Directors, 1998 and 2014), Southeast Tourism Society (Chairman, Board of Directors, 1995-1997), Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association (Board of Directors, 1994-1996), Virginia Delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, Governor's Commission on Development of the Virginia Travel and Tourism Industry (Chairman, Organizational Structure Committee), Virginia Travel Council (President, 1993), Atlantic Coastal Attractions (President, 1978) and Ocean Highway Association (Vice President, 1978).

"I began my professional career with the City of Virginia Beach in 1974, and I am proud to have been a part of the City's growth and evolution into a first-class, year-round destination," said Ricketts. "I am confident that the bureau is well positioned for its next phase of growth and development."

The Virginia Beach tourism industry is responsible for $1.4 billion dollars in direct travel-related expenditures and $115 million dollars in state and local tax revenue. Under Ricketts' leadership, the CVB has been honored four times with prestigious Destinations Council Destiny awards (1976, 1978, 1983 and 1989), the Travel and Tourism Research Association of America's J. Desmond Slattery Marketing Award (1992 and 2007) and the Southeast Tourism Society Shining Example Award five times. Ricketts is a founding member of the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance and is currently serving on the board of the U.S. Travel Association. This September, Ricketts received the honorable Dorothy Hardman Spirit of Southeast Tourism Society award, which recognizes professionals who epitomize the greatest attributes of the tourism industry.

For more information, contact Jim Carra, Executive Vice President of Searchwide: [email protected] com