2023 Annual Convention Call for Speakers

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2022

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Destinations International is now accepting presentation proposals for the 2023 Annual Convention, July 18-20, in Dallas, Texas. Every attendee at the Annual Convention has valuable knowledge that can help advance the travel and tourism industry. We invite you to be a thought leader and share your expertise in Dallas. 

Paul Ouimet presenting at 2019 Annual Convention in St. Louis
2021 Annual Convention speakers in Baltimore
Partner speaking to attendee at 2021 Annual Convention
Cody Chomiak presenting at CDME course in St. Louis

Here are a few guidelines to providing a quality submission: 

A quality presentation...

  • Contains practical information or a case study that will help industry practitioners gain revenue, gain efficiencies, and/or meet their business objectives.
  • Covers a new, specific topic relevant to travel and tourism.
  • Speaks to one of these target audiences:
    • Small, mid-sized and/or large destination organizations
  • Does not promote products or contain any kind of sales pitch.  If industry vendors are submitting a proposal, the proposal MUST include a case study and a Destinations International member speaker. Any speaking proposal focused on product promotion will be disqualified. Discussion about general product categories is acceptable if there is clear intent to educate and not sell.

A quality speaker...

  • Knows their session’s intended audience and engages with attendees. More information is retained when interactivity is a part of a lesson.
  • Is collaborative in every sense of the word. This includes collaborating with panelists for an engaging conversation about all angles of a topic. This also includes collaborating with Destinations International to ensure all learning objectives and deadlines are met.
  • Has a passion to present.

A few additional notes:

  • As always, participation in Annual Convention education is an unpaid, voluntary speaking opportunity. Complimentary registration is not provided.
  • We are interested in different session formats:
    • Round table discussions - interactivity and collaboration aids knowledge retention and provides attendees with additional networking opportunities.
    • Instructive presentation
    • Panel interview or fireside chat
  • Educational sessions are 45 minutes long.
  • Submitters will be contacted about six weeks after the submission deadline.

A few topic suggestions

Community Alignment  

Content and education in this area centers around the myriad ways destinations can increase their competitiveness by aligning government, community, and industry priorities. We embrace the importance of destination organizations acting as the brand manager to promote their community as a destination to live, work and visit.  

Destination Stewardship  

This theme centers around three buckets: Economic, Environmental and Societal Sustainability. Content in this area offers organizations opportunities to curate more immersive destination experiences, manage sustainable visitor growth, promote equitable economic development, preserve, and improve the environment and elevate quality of life, leading to quality of place.  

Value Based Action  

To improve overall visitor experience, destination organizations must familiarize themselves with what their local communities value and how their residents are striving to achieve their collective goals. How can a destination go beyond just being known to being known for something? We prioritize aligning the values of our industry with the values of their constituents so organizations can most effectively promote the creative, cultural, and community energy unique to their destination.  

Organizational Resilience  

Content in this theme helps build destination organizations’ resilience so they can withstand global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge stronger with an engaged workforce, increased community presence and a larger visitor market share.  

Global Issues & Opportunities  

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion  

To reach their full potential, organizations must develop their brand in a way that represents every aspect of their destination. This involves cultivating a unified community where everyone is welcome and reshaping existing power structures so that systemically marginalized voices are valued. We highlight ways to transform destinations with thought leadership through an anti-racist lens to empower destination organizations to be a true reflection of their communities.  

Workforce Development  

If destinations are to succeed in creating, sustaining, and retaining a viable workforce that can support the current and future needs of the travel industry and their local community, they will need to approach workforce development holistically. We offer stories that inspire creativity, innovation, and collaboration to serve as the hallmarks of successful activities, policies, and programs in our members’ destinations.  

Climate Change  

We now know that the extent of the effects of climate change will vary over time and across regions, as will the ability of societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change. As destination stewards, we must be on the front line of working to slow the pace of change and help our communities adapt where possible. We explore ways to equitably respond to climate change from our roles as destination stewards.  

Global Pandemic  

With their global presence, focus on people meeting people, and access to data, destination organizations are uniquely positioned to support their communities in defining and navigating a post-pandemic future. We highlight destination case studies, business practices, and thought leadership on how destination organizations should take a leading role in ensuring the safety of visitors and residents alike.

Other Topics of Interest:

  • How changing technology has disrupted the industry and driven innovation
  • How the public health crisis, political upheaval, and other trends drive changes in societal norms, and what that means for the industry
  • The future of the meetings and events industry
  • Economic development
  • Talent acquisition and retention
  • Marketing and brand management
  • Conserving the destination’s natural environment
  • Destination development
  • Managing flashpoint politics and informing public policy
  • Developing and implementing an advocacy plan
  • Leveraging community capital
  • Board development (EDI)
  • Transparency (accreditation)
  • Operations/Performance metrics, community KPIs
  • Funding innovation, new markets, new business verticals
  • Destination tools
  • Economic recovery and stimulus
  • Shifting organizational structures
  • Workforce development
  • Creating a welcoming environment 
  • The destination experience

Thank you for your interest in submitting a speaking proposal!

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