PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — The director of New Hampshire's Division of Travel and Tourism has stepped down to head Discover New England, a tourism organization representing the region.
Lori Harnois has worked for the division for 15 years. Her last day was Thursday. She starts as executive director at Discover New England on Aug. 1.
She succeeds Sue Norrington-Davies, who held the position for the past seven years.
"As a native New Englander, I'm thrilled to work with the tourism industry throughout the region and I feel honored to tell the world why New England is such a great place to visit," said Harnois, who also serves on the board of the U.S. Travel Association.
Harnois, who became director of New Hampshire's division in November 2010, helped develop a new brand identity for the state depicting mountain peaks, trails and waterways in 2012. She also oversaw the advertising campaign: "Live Free and ..." — a fill-in-the blank play on the state's longstanding "Live Free or Die" motto adopted in 1945. The idea is open-ended and adaptable to any tourist's pursuit, whether it's snowmobiling, hiking, etc. The state has used variations including "Live Free and Play," ''Live Free and Explore" in its advertising.
Discover New England's primary mission is to increase tourism to the New England region from overseas markets such as the United Kingdom/Ireland, Germany and Japan.
In New Hampshire, Amy Bassett, assistant director of the travel division, is stepping in as interim director. Gov. Maggie Hassan and Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeff Rose would nominate a full-time director. That post would have to be approved by the Executive Council.