Bob Doak spoke Tuesday night during his retirement ceremony at the Chattanooga Convention Center. (Photo: Staff)

At a Tuesday evening retirement celebration, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Bob Doak reflected on the 15 years he spent working to boost the city’s reputation and tourism draw.

“I think the international spotlight is now on Chattanooga,” Doak said. “It wasn’t there 15 years ago. We have people from around the globe looking at Chattanooga as a place to work, play and visit.”

Doak saw the tourism industry in Chattanooga grow from about $500 million to almost $1.1 billion during his tenure.

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“We had a shared vision, and we knew what we wanted,” he said. “We built this town for ourselves, and it just so happens that [tourists] enjoy it also. That has contributed to the success of this industry.”

He and the CVB worked to grow the tourism industry with recreation, convention and business appeal.

According to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, there have been more than 8,700 tourism jobs created, annual visitors have increased to approximately 3.5 million people, and $87 million of tax collections have gone into state and local coffers.

Doak said:

We’ve seen a lot of new hotels come in and a lot of new restaurants that would not be here. Fifteen years ago, there was not a music scene here. It’s very vibrant. You can come to Chattanooga now and know that there’s always something that you can do. It gives me great pleasure to see the tangible success of what tourism does.

The CVB has announced that Doak’s successor is Barry E. White.

White has served 23 years at the helm of Augusta CVB, and he will look to continue his success and Doak’s legacy here in Chattanooga.

Kyle Yager is a contributing writer. He currently attends UTC, where he is the sports editor for the student newspaper, The University Echo. He has also worked as a scouting intern for the UTC football team and currently works as a runner at Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison PC. Kyle intends to attend law school in the fall. You can reach Kyle at [email protected]

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