Tourism Calgary chief executive officer Cindy Ady is retiring after 10 years of successfully elevating Calgary’s profile as a year-round global tourism destination. Ady’s retirement marks the end of an astonishing era of growth and change for tourism in Calgary and signals the beginning of Tourism Calgary’s next remarkable phase and a comprehensive search process for a new CEO.
The organization has undergone significant positive changes under Ady’s leadership, expanding its focus from just marketing to long-term industry development – growing its contribution to the local economy from $1.6 billion in spend in our market to nearly $3.1 billion in 2023. As part of her tenure, Ady also helped to grow the organization’s membership by nearly 60 per cent, to more than 1,000 local business partners working collaboratively with the organization to ensure the industry’s success.
Ady’s significant achievements include effectively navigating a once in a century flood and a global pandemic; creating a new long-term funding agreement with the Calgary Hotel Association early in her tenure, which has proven to be a strong model for the industry; integrating the attraction of meetings and conventions back under Tourism Calgary’s mandate; and, working with The City of Calgary to create a special events fund to attract a variety of signature events.
“From the moment she stepped into the role as CEO 10 years ago, Cindy’s leadership was defined by relentless energy, innovation and creativity, and our organization, the City of Calgary and millions of visitors have benefited from her vision and dedication,” said Mark Wilson, chair of the board of directors at Tourism Calgary. “We are grateful for her leadership and wish her the best in the next phase of her life.”
Tourism Calgary and its next CEO will embark on a new 10-year strategy for the destination with an incredible array of new projects to leverage, such as the BMO Convention Centre expansion, the new Event Centre and Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment district, the redevelopment of Arts Commons and Glenbow Museum, and the development of Calgary’s winter festival, Chinook Blast.
“I am proud of the work we’ve done, the goals we’ve achieved and the strategic vision we’ve set for the years ahead, which we believe will be Calgary’s brightest ever,” said Ady. “I’m grateful to our Tourism Calgary team and our partners at the three levels of government, all of whom have pulled together to help create the city Calgary has become. I am thrilled to watch a new Calgary emerge in the future under new leadership.”
Ady’s last day as CEO will be December 31, 2023, and she will stay on as interim CEO until the new CEO is in place.