About Better Destinations

Positioning Tourism as a 'Net Positive'

Creating a thriving destination requires more than attracting travelers. As never before, leaders are faced with creating flourishing tourism economies while addressing complex challenges. One-dimensional solutions can fall short of achieving desired results.

Better Destinations offers a better way. This flexible consulting practice is founded on a belief that healthy visitor ecosystems grow from addressing a holistic range of considerations. Better Destinations is equipped to assist leaders in maximizing the benefits of tourism while addressing impacts to achieve overall positive outcomes, including stakeholder support.

Drawing from nearly a decade of experience as state tourism director for two powerhouse states, Cathy Ritter has deep experience in developing customized, insight-led solutions to pressing tourism challenges. A specialty is action-oriented destination management planning, especially relating to sustainable or regenerative tourism. Another is guiding creation of initiatives to address specific objectives, whether low-impact tourism, visitor preparedness, inclusivity, workforce development or other interests.

Better Destinations is fueled by the power of partnership. Like few others, it offers a record of success in bringing people together to create timely and innovative solutions. It also draws strength from a deep awareness of emerging trends and readiness to leverage the right expert resources, whether local or global.

Find out more about how The Travel Foundation recommends positioning tourism as a “Net Positive” in Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism And learn how the Future of Tourism Coalition puts people and communities first through 13 Guiding Principles.

About Cathy Ritter

With a deep understanding of tourism dynamics in times of prosperity and crisis, Cathy Ritter has built a strong reputation for partnership, integrity and turning insights into action.

From her earliest days as an award-winning journalist to top roles in government and nonprofit settings, Cathy has learned from the best. In leading development of influential statewide tourism strategic plans for both Colorado and Illinois, she tapped into top-flight expert resources as well as the insights of stakeholders, residents included.

The Colorado Tourism Roadmap, now recognized as an early model for destination management planning, built the state’s competitive edge through pioneering initiatives to build collaboration, spark rural economies, and inspire visitors to try less-traveled destinations and seasons.

Cathy’s work to build out the “Are You Colo-Ready?” Destination Stewardship Plan is widely credited with leading a national movement toward responsible tourism. Embracing new measures of success, she re-focused Colorado’s $20 million domestic and international marketing effort from attracting ever more visitors to driving a collection of benefits across the state, including increased traveler spending.

Cathy has built strong connections with a wide range of North American and global travel experts and thought leaders. She currently serves as a Trustee of The Travel Foundation, an England-based NGO focused on global tourism sustainability, and is an Executive Consultant for MMGY NextFactor, participating in destination management and destination stewardship planning projects. Immediate past chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors, she has served on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and as an officer of the Western States Tourism Policy Council.

She is a contributing author for a new book by the Center for Responsible Travel, Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future, released by Island Press in May 2021. She recently was named as an advisor to America 250, the official planning organization for the U.S. semiquincentennial in 2026.

‘Care for Colorado’ a best practice

December 22nd, 2021

Read More

A first-ever Destination Stewardship Plan for Glacier Country Tourism

December 28th, 2021

Surging visitation in the eight-county region surrounding Glacier National Park has put pressure on natural resources and infrastructure and amplified issues relating to workforce. Glacier Country Tourism leader Racene Friede engaged MMGY NextFactor, with support from Better Destinations, to engage stakeholders, residents and civic leaders in shaping a first-ever Destination Stewardship Plan.

Read about it!

A New Office of Rural Tourism for Tennessee Tourism

December 19th, 2021

With brand-new recurring funding to generate rural economic development through tourism, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development engaged Better Destinations to assist in creating new programs and initiatives. The primary focus is to develop strategies generating increased tourism in 44 distressed and at-risk counties with a wealth of potential tourism assets.

Read More

Why is overtourism Such a problem?

December 17th, 2021

Cathy Ritter was among the contributing authors who joined co-editor and CREST Director Emeritus Martha Honey in discussing Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future. Kelsey Frankiel also co-edited. Overtourism and climate change walk into a bar…: Travel Weekly. Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann wrote about it.