Bi-weekly Update: November 3, 2017

Greetings from New Orleans, LA.

Our thoughts and prayers are with New York City as they continue to heal following the cowardly terrorist attack earlier this week. Just hours after the attack, thousands still gathered for the Halloween parade – signaling the city's continued resiliency. Yet another senseless tragedy has revealed just how strong destinations can be. 

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It has been a busy few weeks of productive meetings with many of our members and partners. I am writing to you from the beautiful city of New Orleans, LA where we just wrapped up our Executive Committee meeting. Thanks to our Executive Committee Board members who commit their time, counsel and leadership to our team and industry.

Last week’s 130 Membership Summit attendees had the opportunity to network with peers while exploring Charlotte, NC through hands-on Learning Labs. Thanks to Mike Butts, Vice President of Sales / Executive Director and Kamin Brennan, Director of Partnership and their team at Visit Charlotte for their generous hospitality.

Over 50 industry leaders attended our inaugural Advocacy Summit in Baltimore last week where we took a deep dive into the weaponization of travel. Thanks to the Travel and Tourism Research Association for the opportunity to co-locate the event with their Marketing Outlook Forum (MOF). Building off the recent Weaponization of Travel Study which explores whether travel boycotts and bans work to effect political change, the Foundation released the Weaponization of Travel: Profiling the Digital Advocate Study which breaks down the various online advocates of the weaponization of travel. The complimentary study can be found on our website. We had great speakers who all continue to remind us that proactive communication between a destination and its stakeholders is critical to success. Thanks to Al Hutchinson, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore for hosting us.

We look forward to seeing many of our members next week in Baton Rouge, LA for CDME and Sales Academy 1 and 2. 

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I am pleased to share that this week we launched the Member Forum, an online community for discussions, polls, file sharing, and most importantly staying connected with peers. I hesitate to say, “back by popular demand” but in the many meetings we had with members over the past year, it was made clear that an online community was important. We encourage you to log in with your current Destinations International login information and get the conversations rolling! Thanks to Joy Lin, our Director of Marketing Technology for her hard work and dedication on this important initiative.

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Nina Winston had the opportunity to attend the Visit Buffalo Niagara Travel Industry Summit earlier this month. The event connects industry partners, elected officials and local leaders to talk about tourism and economic development.

Kate Skidmore, our Senior Manager of Sales and Services, empowerMINT and EIC, had the opportunity to present at a breakout session at the 2017 Kansas Tourism Conference last week. Thank you to the Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK) for inviting us to the great city of Garden City, Kansas!

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Congratulations to Ernest Wooden Jr., President and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board and his team for securing the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship Game! 

As Destinations International members you understand the value of strong industry connections, and you know the importance of being able to anticipate and navigate travel industry trends. The Phocuswright Conference, taking place November 7-9 in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, is yet another opportunity to network with industry leaders and learn about the latest trends in travel technology, online travel distribution and innovation. You may click here to learn more and to register.

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If you can help deliver outstanding educational sessions, we want to hear from you at our 2018 Annual Convention. Please submit a proposal by December 31, 2017.

Safe travels to many of our members who will be attending WTM in London. Our Board Chair, Tammy Blount and Nina Winston will be representing us at this global gathering. 

Congratulations to the Houston Astros on their World Series victory. No doubt that the Astros brought some necessary relief and joy during the city's recovery following Hurricane Harvey.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.