Destination Organization Leadership Award

The Destination Organization Leadership Award was created in 2017 and is amongst the association's most prestigious honors, recognizing those outstanding individuals who, through their exceptional work and achievements, have made a significant contribution to the destination marketing industry and a profound difference in the communities they serve.

Any destination organization leader who has demonstrated a significant and long-term contribution to the destination marketing industry may be nominated. Specifically, one whom has provided leadership, innovation and credibility among their colleagues and has developed a reputation for excellence through the management of their organization and the use of best practices, cutting-edge technology and strategy.

2020 Honoree

Joe D'Alessandro headshot

Joe D'Alessandro

President and CEO, San Francisco Travel Association
San Francisco runs through Joe D’Alessandro’s blood. He’s the grandson of Italian immigrants who arrived in San Francisco over 100 years ago. It’s only fitting that he now leads an organization that was founded at roughly the same time.

Since taking the job as President and CEO in 2006, Joe has driven San Francisco Travel to adopt the San Francisco ethos of community, innovation, openness and change as its core business values. The association has embraced an award-winning comprehensive digital marketing strategy that makes the most of a rapidly evolving technological landscape. It has forged partnerships with and between hotels, attractions, and neighboring destinations to maximize both the visitor experience and organizational goals.

Among his many achievements is the development of the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District, which created a unique and sustainable funding structure that has become a national model for tourism promotion. He led the massive renovation and expansion efforts of the Moscone Center, one of the most in-demand convention centers in the nation. And the association has rebranded and refocused, charting an ambitious strategic course that includes focused efforts in destination management, sustainability, economic development and public policy.

Before joining San Francisco Travel, Joe was the CEO of Travel Portland and CEO of the Oregon Tourism Commission, where he was named State Tourism Director of the Year by the National Council of State Tourism Directors. Joe is a leader in the city as well as in the industry. He has lent his knowledge and skills to a number of groups, including serving on the boards of US Travel, Visit California and the San Francisco’s Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. He was named the Most Admired CEO by The San Francisco Business Times.

Past Honorees

2019 Destination Organization Leadership Awardee: 

Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico

2018 Destination Organization Leadership Awardee: 

Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California

2017 Destination Organization Leadership Awardee:

Rossi Ralenkotter, President & CEO, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority