Omaha CVB Gets New Leader

Keith Backsen

Keith Backsen, vice president of sales and services for Visit Spokane in Spokane, WA, has been named the new director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB) in Omaha, NE, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced yesterday.

"Keith brings enthusiasm and experience that will help Omaha grow as a tourism destination and convention city," Stothert said in a statement. "He is well-known in the industry and will be a strong leader, innovator, and mentor to our Convention and Visitors Bureau staff."

Backsen has nearly 30 years of hospitality and convention experience. In Spokane, he opened sales offices in Washington, DC, and Chicago, resulting in increased convention bookings. He also worked on a public campaign to expand the Spokane Convention Center with a $65 million bond issue. The expansion and increased hotel inventory have allowed Spokane to pursue larger conventions, growing bookings there by 129 percent in the last two years.

"It is a privilege to have been selected to join such a great organization in a truly wonderful destination," Backsen said. "My wife and I couldn't be more pleased or excited to become part of the community. I feel especially lucky to join the team at Visit Omaha and continue the work of bringing visitors to the city."

Check out the all-new MeetingNews Minute, featuring exclusive research on industry trends!