New leader announced for Visit Duluth

Newcomer Daniele Villa brings "international experience" to the agency's slimmed-down role in Duluth tourism.

man smiling
Daniele Villa is the new president of sales and operations for Visit Duluth.
Contributed / Visit Duluth
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DULUTH — After a tumultuous period which saw the city veer away from use of its marketing services, Visit Duluth announced a new president of sales and operations to lead the organization.

Daniele Villa was introduced in a news release Wednesday, having been promoted by the board of directors.

“Daniele has extensive experience in business to business sales, marketing and exhibition center management,” the announcement said. “He is a seasoned team leader, business developer and promoter of trade shows, events and conventions. His international experience will bring unique insights to the organization and Visit Duluth’s tourism partners.”

The organization was displaced by Twin Cities-based Bellmont Partners to lead Duluth’s multimillion-dollar marketing effort for 2022. Visit Duluth will now play a reduced supporting role, working to attract conventions, operate a visitor center and promote special events, including sports competitions.

Villa has a master’s degree from the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano in Italy with a specialization in management, marketing and strategy.


His previous leadership roles include placements in Minneapolis, Italy and Dubai.

“I am excited to work with our seasoned sales team, the city of Duluth and our tourism collaborators to deliver a great customer experience and position Duluth for significant growth in the conventions and sporting events markets,” Villa said. “I love Duluth and will do everything I can to help it achieve its full potential as a premier destination.”

Privately, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Monica, and their two daughters, Visit Duluth said. A former pilot and skydiver, Villa is said to be passionate about travel, cooking, Vikings football and golf.

The News Tribune used a data request to unearth myriad reasons why the city of Duluth chose a Twin Cities firm over its decadeslong partnership with Visit Duluth.

“Visit Duluth is moving forward with Daniele’s fresh energy and sales focus to deliver positive results for our tourism industry,” board chair Karen Pionk said. “We are very pleased to have Daniele on board.”

Visit Duluth also said it will soon be announcing the relocation of a visitor center in the Canal Park area offering “information to our visitors and community members alike while featuring Duluth’s creative side.”

The city and Visit Duluth have struck a potential deal.

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