FMCVB president Cole Carley to retire after two decades with the organizationFARGO – Cole Carley, the longtime CEO and president of the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced today he will retire in July.
By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM
FARGO – Cole Carley, the longtime CEO and president of the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced today he will retire in July.
In his 21 years with the organization, Carley has overseen the many expanding sectors of the local tourism and hospitality industry.
Carley, who some have called a vibrant salesmen for the Fargo-Moorhead community, has traveled around the nation and world to tout that it’s a community with more to offer than frigid temperatures and Scandinavian accents.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Carley said of the changes he’s seen.
When Carley started in 1990, Fargo-Moorhead boasted 2,260 hotel rooms. Today, that’s almost doubled to 4,295 rooms.
The industry’s continued success can also be measured in the amount of money in the CVB budget, which comes entirely from lodging taxes. In 1990, the CVB worked with less than $500,000. Last year’s budget topped out at $1.3 million.
Over the same period, Hector International Airport doubled the number of people boarding in Fargo from 181,000 in 1991 to 350,000 last year.
“We very strongly believe tourism is the gateway to growth,” Carley said this week. “People don’t generally move to a place if they’ve never visited.”
The visitor’s bureau board has launched a nationwide search for the next leader. The new president and CEO is expected to be in place in time for Carley’s departure.
For more on Carley’s retirement and the changes in local tourism over the past two decades, read Saturday’s Forum.