Eric Summe, a Northern Kentucky native and president and CEO of meetNKY/Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been named the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) 2016 Member of the Year.

Summe, who worked in government affairs for Delta Air Lines before taking the helm of meetNKY five years ago, serves as the Chairman of the KTIA Legislative Committee.

“Eric’s knowledge and grasp of the issues were keys in the development of the association’s comprehensive legislative agenda for the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly,” said KTIA President & CEO Hank Phillips. “His expertise, insights and strategic thinking were essential ingredients in the successful pursuit of that agenda.”

meetNKY serves as an aggressive destination sales, marketing, and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings, and visitor expenditures.

“KTIA has been experiencing a period of expansion of the service and value that it delivers to the Kentucky travel industry,” Phillips said. “Among those is a much more aggressive and effective advocacy effort. That effort has been led by Eric Summe. In large measure it was that leadership that earned him KTIA’s 2016 Member of the Year honor.”

Mary Quinn Ramer, President and CEO of VisitLEX and chair of the KTIA Board said Summe does not allow KTIA’s legislative priorities and agendas to get bogged down in parochialism or regional competition. She said he instead focuses on what is best for Kentucky’s tourism industry.

“I have seen Eric’s leadership in action,” Quinn Ramer said. “Eric understands and embodies the spirit of cooperation and collaboration when it comes the promotion of and protection of Kentucky’s travel and tourism industry.”

Summe said he was humbled and honored by the recognition and credited his meetNKY team for his success in Frankfort as well as for the overall success and growth of Northern Kentucky’s tourism industry.

“I’m a big sports fan, and the most successful teams are all about teamwork,” Summe said. “I am grateful for the tremendous teams that I am privileged to be a part of at meetNKY and with the KTIA. This award is a true recognition of the success that can be achieved when people come together to work toward a common goal, and that is bringing more visitors, conventions, meetings, and tourists to Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and the state of Kentucky.”

Travel and tourism is a booming local industry, contributing nearly $366 million to Northern Kentucky’s economy during 2015 as tourism filled more hotel rooms than ever in the region.

On a regional and statewide level, Northern Kentucky accounted for 39 percent of the $4.4 billion in travel spending in the Greater Cincinnati region and 20 percent of all travel spending in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

In addition, the average daily rate for hotel rooms increased 4.85 percent to $91.47. Each leisure visitor spends, on average, an additional $101 per day in the region; each meetings/business visitor spends an additional $189 per day on average.

Summe grew up in Fort Mitchell, graduated from Covington Catholic High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky in 1974. When he isn’t working to attract visitors to Northern Kentucky, Summe enjoys spending time with his wife Bonnie, traveling, visiting his two grown children who both live in the east, playing golf and riding his motorcycle.  Read more.