Loading Events

Critical Conversations: The Future of Tourism in Vermont

Tourism brings nearly $3.0 billion to the Vermont economy each year, but what is the future of the industry? Will factors such as climate change, corporatization of agriculture, or other national and global events have an impact? Panelists will discuss the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the state and share their predictions about the future of this important Vermont industry.

Panelists include:
Molly Mahar, President of Ski Vermont
Nathan McKeen, Director of State Parks, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation
Heather Pelham, Commissioner of Vermont Department of Tourism
Amy Spear, Vice President of Tourism, Vermont Chamber of Commerce

How to Participate

Pay What You Will for this in-person panel discussion. We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.

Get Your Tickets Here

About the Panelists

Molly Mahar has served as president of The Vermont Ski Areas Association (VSAA), a.k.a., Ski Vermont, since 2018. Prior to that, she worked in marketing and sales at Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH; Sugarbush Resort; Bolton Valley Resort; as well as for the Vermont Ski Areas Association, where she worked extensively with members, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and other statewide organizations to further the state’s brand. She also serves on the Board of SnoCountry, a non-profit industry organization, is a past president of the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and has served on Ski New Hampshire’s marketing committee and represented the ski industry on New Hampshire Tourism’s Joint Promotional Program Screening Committee. She lives in Waitsfield with her husband, Brian, and is a graduate of the University of Vermont. VSAA is a non-profit trade group representing 20 alpine areas and 30 cross country centers.

Heather Pelham was appointed to role of Commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing in November of 2019, after serving as the Chief Marketing Officer for the State of Vermont since June 2015. Pelham continues to serve a leadership role with the Chief Marketing Office. Prior to joining state government, Pelham was the managing partner of a central Vermont advertising and design firm, developing brand strategies and integrated marketing campaigns for small business, nonprofit and higher education clients. Also an accomplished designer, Pelham has 20 years of experience in creative strategy, graphic design, and web development. Pelham is a graduate of Brown University and lives with her family in Randolph Center.

Nathan McKeen studied forestry at the University of Maine and has worked for State Parks systems in Connecticut and Vermont. He served for 2.5 years in Senegal, West Africa, with the Peace Corps. He began his career with Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation as a park manager at Little River State Park in Waterbury. Since then, he has held various leadership positions in both the Parks Division and the Forestry Division. In addition, he has served multiple years on his local school board and conservation commission.

Amy Spear has served as the Vice President of Tourism at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce since 2019. As the largest statewide business organization, the Vermont Chamber represents all industries and sectors. Most recently, prior to joining the Chamber, she held roles leading the Stowe Area Association and the Killington Pico Area Association. Spear is currently the chair of the Vermont Travel and Recreation Council. She lives in Killington with her husband and daughter where she is the co-chair of the Town of Killington’s Recreation Commission and a founding member of the Killington Mountain Bike Club.