Tourism Consultants, LLC
Cathleen Johnson, president of Cathleen Johnson Tourism Consultants, LLC, is one of the foremost authorities on travel and tourism marketing and communications. She created the travel and hospitality practice at Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm., and throughout a 25+ year career there, grew the specialty area to the #1 tourism practice among independent PR agencies. She has developed marketing campaigns for countries including the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Brazil, and for a wide variety of airlines, hotels, tour and transportation companies and associations.
Cathleen started her trajectory in the tourism industry when she won and managed the National Tour Association account for Edelman, which was quickly followed by major contracts for the State of Illinois Department of Tourism and Mexico Tourism. With this strong base of business, she was able to grow Edelman’s tourism practice into a specialty across the globe, with tourism specialists in each of the firm’s regions. Some of the major clients represented by the practice over Cathleen’s tenure include Expedia, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Viking River Cruises, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels, United Airlines, British Airways, Amtrak, Brazil Tourist Office, Puerto Rico tourism and many more.
One of her proudest accomplishments was winning an assignment with the United States Department of Commerce to create and implement the country’s very first marketing campaign to promote international inbound tourism to the U.S. She assembled a group of agencies to form the Visit America Alliance, which created a breakthrough integrated marketing campaign that used iconic American movies to promote U.S. destinations to audiences in the UK and Japan.
During a hiatus from Edelman, Cathleen also served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. In that position she managed all of the bureau’s marketing functions worldwide.
Cathleen is a frequent presenter at industry conferences on various marketing topics.
She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Illinois University and Masters degree from University of Chicago, where she completed her thesis on “The Effects of Travel on Self Actualization in Youth.” That experience led to a passion for helping kids experience travel, and to that end, she has served on the board of the Juvenile Protective Association (Chicago) and on the Board of Trustees of the SYTA Youth Foundation. She was also an original board member of Tourism Cares, the travel industry’s largest philanthropy, dedicated to conservation, preservation and education in the travel industry.
She has taught Tourism Public Relations most recently at the American University of Paris, and prior to that at De Paul University in Chicago; and has been a guest lecturer at the NYU and Roosevelt University hospitality schools.