The Howard County Tourism and Promotion (HCPT) Board of Directors has announced that Rachelina Bonacci, CEO for the past 13 years, has resigned.

Since joining HCTP, Bonacci has helped oversee the expansion of the old post office in Historic Ellicott City into Howard County’s premiere Welcome Center, serving visitors from every state and around the world who visit Howard County every year. HCTP, under Bonacci’s leadership, also has received numerous awards for its innovative programs, including its recent #HowardOnTap app that provides a driving tour of local breweries, the Howard County Visitor’s Guide and its interactive web site.

In addition, Bonacci, with her staff, started the popular Ghost Tours in Ellicott City and Savage Mill and helped found Blossoms of Hope, bringing more than 1,800 cherry trees to beautify Howard County, as well as provide funding for the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.

“Rachelina’s great creativity and enthusiasm will be very hard to replace,” said David Balderson, HCTP board chair. “She has helped make Howard County truly the center of Maryland in many tourists’, administrators’ and legislators’ minds.

“Most importantly, our ability to promote Howard County has dramatically increased as our budget has grown to more than $1 million as a result of Rachelina, who, along with Dick Story, former president and CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, spoke with area hoteliers and state legislators, leading to a mutually agreed-upon hotel tax increase which directly benefitted the reach and scope of our tourism office.”

Howard County Tourism and Promotion will soon begin a nationwide search to replace Bonacci. During this transition period, the organization’s senior staff will report directly to Balderson.