Brian McCartin is the new President & CEO of the Tempe Tourism Office. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet him yet, we wanted to give you a chance to get to know him and find out what he likes most about Tempe and what he sees for Tempe’s future as a tourism destination.
Since beginning his new post, Brian has immersed himself in learning about our great city. Now that he’s had time to experience Tempe, we wanted to get his impressions so far. The Tempe Tourism team asked Brian six questions which he tackled with gusto. We like his answers and think you will too.
You worked at Travel Portland for 15 years. What positions did you hold there?
I started as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. After several years, and as the dynamics of the destination were changing (an expanded convention center, increased international air service, several new hotels, etc.), we changed my role to more of a sales and services focus. My title changed to Executive Vice President of Convention and Tourism Sales. Prior to joining Travel Portland, I had been a hotelier in Portland and for five years I served on Travel Portland’s Board of Directors, including a term as the Board Chair. So, I really worked for/with Travel Portland for 20 years.
What excites you the most about working for the Tempe Tourism Office?
Tempe is a terrific destination with so much to offer. And while centrally located within the greater Phoenix area, Tempe is an urban oasis. There’s this upbeat vibe and a fun-filled exuberance to Tempe. It’s been described as refreshingly offbeat which I’m finding to be so true. There’s a benefit to it being a college town but it’s so much more than that with lively events on weekends, the arts and cultural scene including Broadway shows, numerous year-round outdoor activities, a great food scene, affordable shopping and numerous annual festivals. At Tempe Tourism, we get to tell the story about Tempe and welcome visitors to come experience it for themselves. They won’t be disappointed.
If you had a few hours to spend in Tempe on a Saturday, what would you do?
There’s bound to be a festival, a sporting event or cultural activity happening so I’d definitely find one of those to enjoy. Shopping in Tempe is abundant and we’re home to some terrific attractions like the Desert Botanical Garden and Papago Park. I’d definitely plan to enjoy the lively culinary scene and check out our local breweries. And with my family, we might enjoy the SEA LIFE Aquarium or LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
What do you want Tempe to be known for?
I’m having fun learning about all that Tempe has to offer. Many know it as the home to Arizona State University and we’re blessed to enjoy all that a major university provides its community. But Tempe is so much more than that. It’s a city in the heart of Metropolitan Phoenix with its own unique personality. Couples, families, singles, outdoor enthusiasts, arts and culture lovers, culinary tourists, sports, festival and event goers can all find what they love in Tempe. It’s safe and affordable too. I look forward to working with the community and our hospitality industry partners to insure that Tempe remains a dynamic and welcoming destination. In addition, my goal is to increase the number of visitors and the positive economic impact that they bring to our community by enhancing Tempe’s reputation as a unique and positively surprising destination.
What changes do you see on the horizon for tourism in Tempe?
I see a great deal of advantages for tourism in Tempe. It’s a terrific destination that provides so many positive attributes for visitors and we’re fortunate to have city leadership, businesses and a community that understands and supports what tourism means to our local economy. Exciting development plans are in place or underway at ASU, new hotels are announced or under construction, new flights are being added at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport connecting us to more destinations around the world, construction on the streetcar is underway and our reputation for hosting successful festivals, sporting events and arts and cultural productions is growing. As well, travelers are looking for progressive alternatives to destinations they’ve been to many times before and Tempe, with its welcoming vibe and hospitable spirit, is destined to attract those visitors.
What’s your favorite hand crafted beverage, coffee or beer?
In the morning I’m always up for a great cup of coffee and we’ve got lots of terrific coffee shops in Tempe. But on a leisurely afternoon or at night, I definitely enjoy a good cold beer. Lucky for me, Tempe’s got a great craft beer scene.