Kristen Branscum was named the director of strategic planning for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet which comprises multiple agencies involved in the state’s $15 billion a year travel industry.
Branscum, who was named director in July 2019, is responsible for strategic planning for the cabinet which includes: the Department of Tourism, Department of Parks, the Office of Adventure Tourism, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Historical Society, Humanities Council, State Fair Board, Heritage Council, Center for African American Heritage, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Governor’s School for the Arts, Kentucky Artisans Center in Berea, Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Film Office.
Branscum is a member of the board of directors for Travel South USA and served as chairwoman through August 2019. Branscum is a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance where she is currently serving as chair for this organization. She also is a member of the board for the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, the Kentucky Derby Festival, and the Southeast Tourism Society.
She previously served as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department Tourism since January 2016 - responsible for marketing and promoting Kentucky as a travel destination domestically and internationally. She worked as the tourism development director at the department from 2004-2008. Branscum worked for eight years in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in various leadership roles. From 2012-2016, she was executive director of marketing for the department and oversaw the highly successful Kentucky Proud™ branding program, which is the official logo for agricultural products in the state.
Branscum is a graduate of Auburn University and received post-graduate degrees at the University of Kentucky. She is a native of Russell Springs, Kentucky and currently lives in Lexington.
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