2020 Advocacy Summit | October 15 & November 12, 2020

We are at a time of significant change in our industry and around the world. We are in a time of crisis, a seminal moment, a defining moment. We are at a watershed, a decision point, an inflection point - a strategic inflection point.

This is a point in the life of our organizations when the fundamentals are changing. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights; however, it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end. The choice is yours.

Watch the Case Studies

Watch recorded case studies presented to the Advocacy Summit audience by industry members and partners. The case study recordings are available complimentary for members of Destinations International.

Use your member login to access the recordings, or contact us if you need assistance.

Answer the Questions icon
Answer the questions driven by this strategic inflection point and put it in perspective.
Acquire tools icon
Acquire the information, insight, tools, and tactics you want and need to grab hold of this opportunity.
Inspire Your Organization icon
Inspire your organization to acknowledge the inflection point, seize the moment and rise to new heights.

November 12 Virtual Agenda Coming Soon

We will present a review of the results of the US election as well as the handful of local elections in Canada and other points around the globe; our annual What Keeps Us Up At Night session highlighting industry trends Destinations International sees developing that concern us; a deep dive on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion including new research data and more tools, tactics and information to help you advocate for your destination organization.

Full November 12 agenda will be posted soon!

Register Now for November 12

Member Rate
Non-Member Rate

October 15 Virtual Agenda

Schedule subject to change.
Welcome Coffee
9:45 AM - 10:00 AM ET
Welcome | Learning from Our History: Detroit 1896 to Today
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM ET
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We are at a point in time in the life of our organizations when the fundamentals are changing - a strategic inflection point. Learn what makes this opportunity different from others.
Don Welsh headshot Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International
Jack Johnson headshot Jack Johnson
Chief Advocacy Officer
Destinations International
Maura Allen Gast headshot Maura Allen Gast
Executive Director
Visit Irving
Can Advocacy Accelerate Recovery?
10:30 AM - 10:50 AM ET
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Historic travel industry losses continue to mount. However, signs of recovery point to big opportunities for destinations over the next 18 months. During this session, Adam Sacks will share Tourism Economics' latest views on the economy, expectations for how and when travel will fully recover, as well as perspectives on the interplay between advocacy and a sustainable long term recovery.
Adam Sacks headshot Adam Sacks
Tourism Economics
Destination Safety: The New Priority
10:50 AM - 11:20 AM ET
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Destinations International has stated that it is the job of the destination organization to pitch in and help make a destination safe – to make the residents feel safe so that travelers can be invited to visit. If residents feel that they and their community are at risk, you may be courting disaster with any external marketing campaigns. Visitors must be made to feel that your destination is safe to travel to and that it has gone the extra mile to ensure that safety is the first concern.

Discover Long Island has been a leader in taking on this challenge with the hiring of an Official Health & Wellness Ambassador. Hear from both the President & CEO, Kristen Jarnagin, who adopted this strategy, and Dr. Michele Reed, who acts as an advisor on health and safety-related protocols to tourism industry leaders, as they share safe travel tips recommendations on how to enjoy Long Island’s tourism attractions and vast outdoor experiences.
David Peacock headshot David Peacock
Senior Advisor, Future Tourism Group
Kristen Jarnagin headshot Kristen Jarnagin
President & CEO
Discover Long Island
Dr. Michele C. Reed headshot Dr. Michele C. Reed
Official Health and Wellness Ambassador
Discover Long Island
Advocacy Solutions Case Studies
11:30 AM - 11:55 AM ET
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Join us for specific case study examples presented by our industry partners.

• A Tale of Two Recoveries
• Broader Coalitions & Accountability
• Destination Resilience
• Proving Impact: Life Without a Destination Organization
Advocacy Solutions Case Studies
12:00 PM - 12:25 PM ET
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Join us for specific case study examples presented by our industry partners.

• The Audacity of Future Proofing
• The Importance of Allies: Building Recovery Through Connection
• Using Research to Show the Value of the DMO
• Where Do We Go From Here? Evolving Your Mission
Lunch Break
12:25 PM - 1:00 PM ET
The Importance of Resident Sentiment in a Crisis
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET
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Communities are often the environment wherein residents develop identities, forge relationships with peers, and create meaning and coherence in their lives. A community's reputation - shared beliefs among residents about the positive or negative qualities of a community - can influence people's views about themselves and the broader community. We are excited to welcome back Longwoods International for this exclusive release of their 2020 Resident Sentiment study. We will be taking a deeper look at what changed for this year with a deeper discussion as to why this matters to a destination organization. Join us for part 1 of this discussion, to be continued at the November 12 Advocacy Summit.
Amir Eylon headshot Amir Eylon
President & CEO
Longwoods International
Andreas Weissenborn headshot Andreas Weissenborn
Senior Director of Research & Advocacy
Destinations International
The Unusual Suspects: The Community Benefit Funding Model
1:35 PM - 2:10 PM ET
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At the 2020 Annual Convention, the Destinations International advocacy team introduced the concept of a Community Benefit Funding Model. This model is based not just on "heads in beds" but in a broader view of the direct beneficiaries of destination promotion. This session picks up where that session ended and will explore specific funding sources.
Gabe Seder headshot Gabe Seder (Moderator)
Senior Director of Advocacy Policy
Destinations International
Ray Hoyt headshot Ray Hoyt
Tulsa Regional Tourism
John Lambeth headshot John Lambeth
President & CEO
Community Engagement and Grassroots Lobbying
2:15 PM - 3:05 PM ET
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When it comes to engaging your community's residents or government officials at the statehouse or city hall, nothing beats assistance from an expert. Join us for this panel of four experts in community engagement and government lobbying, as they offer their thoughts on the current state of politics in Canada and the United States. They will also address successful community and government outreach strategies, tactics and messaging... critical areas that every destination organization must invest in for the next normal.
Angela Val headshot Angela Val
Chief Administration Officer
Philadelphia CVB
Imran Ansari headshot Imran Ansari
VP of Community Engagement
Discover Long Island
Rob Leforte headshot Rob Leforte
VP of Community Engagement
Impact Public Affairs
Gary Sanchez headshot Gary Sanchez
Director of Public Affairs
Lexicon 2020: Expanded with New Words to Know and Use
3:10 PM - 3:40 PM ET
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The Lexicon is based on the idea that relying merely on ROI numbers to defend the value and relevancy of a destination organization was no longer a viable advocacy strategy. Instead, destination organizations need to support that message with an emotional and value-based appeal to convince political leaders and community stakeholders that without a destination organization, these returns will inevitably vanish. Utilizing Quorum, the world's most comprehensive database of legislative information, we were able to build a list of key words that were used repeatedly by elected officials when talking positively about travel and tourism. We then ran an analysis of political discourse around related topics and public goods, and found that many of the same key words were being repeated by political leaders. In 2018 we released a master list of ten keywords. A year later, we updated that list and expanded it to twenty words. This year Destinations International released our 2020 edition of thirty words with country specific lists for Australia, Canada, and the United States. This session will review the words AND discuss strategies to put them in use at your destination organization.
Jack Johnson headshot Jack Johnson
Chief Advocacy Officer
Destinations International
Andreas Weissenborn headshot Andreas Weissenborn
Senior Director of Research & Advocacy
Destinations International
Shirtsleeve Roundtable Discussions
3:45 PM - 4:15 PM ET
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Join us for breakout room discussions of current advocacy trends.

Breakout Rooms:
Learning From Our History & Destination Safety Sessions
Community Engagement & Grassroots Lobbying Session
The Unusual Suspects & Pandemic Recession Sessions
Resident Sentiment & Lexicon 2020 Sessions
Closing Keynote: Rebecca Ryan
4:20 PM - 5:00 PM ET
Closing Remarks & Yappy Hour
5:00 PM - 5:35 PM ET

October 15 Keynote Speaker

Sara Ross Headshot


Rebecca is a futurist, author, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of NEXT Generation Consulting and has held residencies at the Alliance for Innovation, the Governing Institute, and the Association of Government Risk Pools. She is the board chairperson and faculty member at the Institute for Zen Leadership.