Kim Collier, executive director of the Cumberland Tourist Commission, was elected in October to the board.
The Kentucky Tourism Council is an independent organization with around 400 members which works to boost tourism in the state.
"I was very excited to get nominated and elected," Collier said.
The issues the board faces to try to increase tourism vary widely.
"Whether it's marketing or educational opportunities, working on festivals and events or government relations, whatever direction the board wants to go, when these events are brought before the board, I will be a vote," she said.
She was nominated by a member of the Kentucky Tourism Council. The nomination committee was appointed by the board of directors.
The position lasts one year.
The impact on Harlan County may not be as direct as getting money for projects, but Collier says a positive difference can be made.
"I think this will help address Harlan County's tourism needs," she said. "This organization doesn't have grants, but it does allow you to be a leader and make decisions. It is a great networking opportunity, and I think it can get us better recognized."
More recognition and a sharper focus on tourism will help Harlan County where it's hurting, said Collier.
"We're trying very hard in the Tri-Cities to increase tourism," she said. "We're not going to have the type of coal jobs that we used to. We're looking to fill that void and create jobs in culture and heritage tourism and nature-based tourism, among others."
Collier said that $13 million were spent in Harlan County in the 2002-2003 year on tourism, and she said that there are a little over 300 tourism-related jobs in Cumberland.