A veteran travel consultant who spent two years at the helm of Portland’s downtown association is the new leader of the state’s restaurant and innkeepers associations.

Steve Hewins will jointly manage the Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Innkeepers Association, succeeding Greg Dugal, who submitted his resignation last November but who will remain on as a lobbyist for the two groups.

“I’ve been in the hospitality and visitor industry for my entire career and I truly love it,” Hewins said Tuesday in a written statement. “I believe that it’s a key component of Maine’s economy and critical to its future.”

The two groups, which adopted a joint management structure in 2013, represent the hospitality industry in Maine, which employs 77,000 people and generates more than $3.6 billion annually. The groups have almost 1,200 members across the state.

As president, Hewins will report to the board of Hospitality Association Management Services, the joint management group, which includes six board members from the two associations. He will oversee a staff of five and manage the combined budgets of $850,000.

Hewins entered the industry in the 1980s. He founded a travel agency, Hewins Travel. Over 25 years, he built it into Maine’s largest travel agency, with locations across the state. He sold it in 2007 to AAA Northern New England, where he became a vice president for six years.

In 2013, Hewins was named director of Downtown Portland, a nonprofit organization created to promote downtown living, business and tourism. In his two years there, he implemented a new strategic plan and expanded the Old Port Festival into a three-day event.

Hewins also had a brief stint in Nova Scotia’s tourism office in Portland at the start of his career.

Hewins is chairman of the University of Southern Maine Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board and also sits on the boards of the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Maine Convention Center Collaborative and the University of Maine Alumni Association.