- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 20, 2003

The District is losing a notable tourism leader to its neighboring city. Leslie R. Doggett, a top U.S. tourism official during the Clinton administration, has been named the new president and chief executive of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA).

Ms. Doggett, 46, was chosen after a five-month review and competition from more than 80 other applicants. She replaces Carroll Armstrong, who resigned Feb. 1 after an outside consulting firm revealed BACVA had management issues and weak leadership.

The 24-year industry veteran will have her work cut out for her in Baltimore. Business is down, and the city continues to face fierce competition from other markets for conventions and meetings, as well as leisure travelers.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley announced Ms. Doggett’s appointment last week and said the city is now “back on track” with a new tourism leader in place.

“We’ll be making progress in a matter of months, not years,” he said.

Ms. Doggett was this country’s highest-ranking federal tourism official as the deputy assistant secretary for tourism industries at the International Trade Administration from 1996 to 2001. Beginning in 1993 she served as deputy undersecretary of commerce for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration for three years. The Atlantic City, N.J., native was also New York City’s first director of tourism, from 1990 to 1993.

Since 2001, Ms. Doggett has been an independent tourism consultant. She has worked with D.C. public relations firm Walker Marchant Group on the District’s new convention center.

“Baltimore is lucky to have her,” said Ann Walker Marchant, chief executive. “They are very fortunate to have an expert who knows this industry inside and out.”

Ms. Doggett says her first order of business will be to get to know her staff, BACVA’s shareholders and city officials. She then will begin a team effort to market Charm City.

“It’s very important to brand a city,” Ms. Doggett said. “This is truly an authentic American city. We want to make this city a premier destination.”

Ms. Doggett begins her new $180,000-a-year job Aug. 18.

Chantilly hoteladds features

Westfields Marriott recently added amenities and services in hopes of attracting leisure travelers, especially those within a two- or three-hour drive.

The 335-room hotel in Chantilly focuses on upscale conventions and business meetings but now “we are broadening our market strategy,” says General Manager Stuart Damon.

About a month and a half ago, the property added a full-service day spa, where business has been booming during the weekends, Mr. Damon says. In April, Westfields started offering “High Tea” for two hours daily, where bridal parties and showers, as well as business meetings, take place.

In other news…

• The Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington has been acquired by HEI Hospitality, a Norwalk, Conn., hotel ownership and management group, and Prudential Real Estate Investors of New Jersey for an undisclosed amount. The 205-room hotel will undergo a $3 million renovation to its lobby, meeting space and restaurant.

• Inner Self, a new retail shop for women, is opening at Tysons Corner Center in McLean on Friday. The 2,800-square-foot store, which has a spalike environment with music, fragrant candles and a floor-to-ceiling waterfall in the background, sells intimate apparel, bath and beauty products and home accents. The store will have about 15 employees. Inner Self, which is owned by Sara Lee Corp., has eight other locations around the country.

Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.

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