Haslam names Kevin Triplett new tourist commissioner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam has named Kevin Triplett the new commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

The 49-year-old Triplett is currently vice president of public affairs for Bristol Motor Speedway. He replaces Susan Whitaker, who announced her departure in December.

Triplett’s first day on the job will be April 23.

Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries with a $16.7 billion direct economic impact in 2013, a 3.4 percent increase over 2012.

Officials say state and local tax collections reached a new high of $1.28 billion for tourism-related businesses in 2013, which is the eighth consecutive year above $1 billion.