The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced that Mark Jaronski, a 25-year travel and tourism industry leader and veteran Disney marketing executive, will lead Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Jaronski will guide the team responsible for attracting tourists from across the globe to Georgia’s inspiring and surprising destinations. Georgia attracted a record-setting 111.7 million international and domestic visitors, who collectively spent $36.9 billion in communities throughout the state and directly supported 478,000 jobs in 2018, which is the most recent year complete data is available.
“We’re excited to announce that our search for a new Deputy Commissioner to lead Explore Georgia has delivered us a recognized industry professional: Mark Jaronski. Moving forward, we are grateful to have someone like Mark to lead the team and grow tourism in our state,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia’s visitors and the tourism industry as a whole play a critical role in the state’s growth and prosperity. While COVID-19 has presented an incredible challenge to the industry worldwide, our Explore Georgia team has stepped up to support our partners. Georgia is well positioned to come out of this crisis strong, and Mark will help us remain a top destination as travel returns.”
Jaronski spent 16 years at The Walt Disney Company in Florida in a variety of marketing roles that included Manager of Disney Cruise Line Public Relations, Brand Manager of Walt Disney World theme parks, and Director of External Communications for Disney Parks Worldwide at the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California. Through the years, Jaronski served various chairmen and presidents of Disney businesses, providing public affairs counsel and leading the planning and implementation of key business initiatives, including new product launches and transformative guest experiences. Following Disney, Jaronski oversaw Global Communications for Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for Central Florida.
Most recently, Jaronski has served as CEO of Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America since 2016. Select Registry has been the industry’s quality stamp of approval for nearly 50 years, marketing its collection of 300 independently run lodging businesses, including 12 in Georgia, to travelers nationwide. Under Jaronski’s leadership, the marketing association has achieved its highest website traffic and customer retention levels in the organization’s history. He will be transitioning from Select Registry to Explore Georgia in the next 30 to 60 days.
“I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to lead the highly respected team at Explore Georgia toward ensuring that Georgia not only remains the vibrant travel brand it is today, but continues to be positioned for prosperity and growth in the decades to come,” said Jaronski. “My family and I enjoyed all that Georgia has to offer so much that we made it our home. Despite COVID-19, I’m confident that the leadership of Governor Brian Kemp and the direction of GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson will enable us to come together with destination marketers and industry partners statewide to grow the economic impact of tourism like never before.”
Jaronski’s experience as a destination marketer and travel and tourism industry leader with a deep understanding of how to leverage resources to support the growth and economic impact of tourism, has delivered proven results. Jaronski is also former Chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Travel Association’s Communications Committee.
“Georgia will be well served by the leadership and experience that Mark brings to this critically important role,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “As a former Chairman of U.S. Travel’s Communications Advisory Committee and Board Director of the association, Mark has been engaged with us on numerous issues that will help shape his work to guide Georgia’s tourism economy. We congratulate him on this appointment.”
Jaronski earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Florida and his MBA from the University of Florida. Jaronski and his wife Nancy have been married for 23 years. They have four children, ages 16 to 10, and reside in Greensboro, Georgia.