Biweekly Newsletter: April 12, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday.

First of all, we want to send our thoughts and prayers to the city of Durham, NC after the horrible explosion that happened in their town this week. Shelly Green has kept us up-to-date on the situation and we are glad to hear that no one on her team was affected by the explosion. After conferring with the mayor and her team, they made the decision to move ahead this weekend with the city’s Sesquicentennial, a yearlong celebration of Durham’s past, present and future. The city will come together to mourn their losses, commend the heroic actions of their first responders and express their pride for Durham’s resilience and compassion. 

I know many of our members and colleagues have been here in Washington D.C. for the annual Destination Capitol Hill. This is an important week hosted by Roger Dow and his team at U.S. Travel Association. Clearly, there are many important initiatives on the table, including the reauthorization of Brand USA. We must all come together as the collective voice for our industry and communicate the importance of this reauthorization! We also had the chance to celebrate Elliott L. Ferguson, President & CEO of Destination DC on his appointment as the U.S. Travel Association National Chair during a reception.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia CVB Annual Meeting. I had the privilege of moderating a panel with Tori Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy of U.S. Travel Association, Troy Flanagan, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Industry Relations of American Hotel & Lodging Association and Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics. We were happy to be a part of the celebration to recognize the great growth in meetings and the overall tourism increases in Philadelphia under Julie Coker Graham's leadership.

This week, we hosted CDME courses in stunning Banff, Alberta. If you haven’t had a chance to visit this city, I encourage you to put it on your bucket list. Thanks to Leslie Bruce and Woodrow Oldford with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism for hosting us in their city. We would also like to thank Marty Eberth and the entire Travel Alberta team for their hospitality. You may click here to see a photo from the Destination Marketing Planning Course.


Nina Winston just returned from participating in a two-day summit April 4-5 in Guatemala City held as part of Global Meetings Industry Day. This event was produced by the Latin American Association of CVBs and the Guatemala CVB in partnership with INGUAT, MPI and Destinations International. The event covered local, regional and global opportunities as well as challenges and trends in the industry.

Jack Johnson attended the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Seville, Spain, which featured a packed schedule with opinion leaders from industry and government. Among other things, WTTC reported that Travel & Tourism GDP outpaced the global economy for the eighth successive year last year and it is forecast to create 100 million new jobs over the next decade.


The Early Bird Rate for our 2019 Annual Convention is open through April 15. We can’t wait to welcome you to St. Louis! You may click here to register and take advantage of the rate.

A reminder that Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) Annual Progress Reports by DMAP accredited destination organizations are due no later than April 30, 2019. The Annual Progress Reports documents your continuing compliance with DMAP standards or notes impact of recent organization changes. If you are working towards accreditation, renewal or reaccreditation, please be sure to check your DMAP status by logging into the accreditation platform here. Initial applications, 4-year renewal applications, and 8-year reaccreditation applications are accepted year-round. The current turnaround time from submission to official approval is approximately 60 days. For questions about the program, please contact our DMAP Program Consultant, Brian London, [email protected].

To thrive in today’s highly-competitive global marketplace organizations must design, develop and consistently deliver unforgettable customer experiences that create loyalty and life-long value. Join Greg Oates, Chief Innovation Officer at NEXTFactor Enterprises, on April 25 from 2-3 p.m. EDT as he speaks with Joe Veneto of Veneto Collaboratory to discuss how destination organizations can create competitive advantage through the design, development and delivery of unforgettable customer experiences. Click here to register for the webinar.

We invite you to join destinations from around the world to provide critical input to the 2019 DestinationNEXT Futures Study. The survey should take no longer than 35 minutes to complete and participants have the option of saving their progress and coming back to it at a later date. The deadline for participation is May 24, 2019. Please click here to take the survey.

We hope you will save the date for the ECM Summer School August 24-28, 2019 in London. This is a valuable learning opportunity for all destination organization professionals from our friends at European Cities Marketing (ECM). The aim is to equip professionals with the latest marketing tools and to help them to develop the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in conference, meetings and event management. Please make sure to check the ECM website for updated information.


As we all know, music plays a vital role in our industry, at your destinations and in our lives. Music inspires, consoles, and lifts our spirits on a daily basis. We invite you to join our Destinations International House Band. Click here to read a letter from Gregg Shapiro and Adam Sacks for more information. The deadline to submit your audition video is May 20, 2019. You may click here to access the submission form.

Congratulations to Meetings Mean Business on a very successful Global Meetings Industry Day this month. This annual event takes place in order to ensure that the media, elected officials and the general public understand how meetings foster strong relationships, drive positive outcomes and support vibrant communities.

Congratulations to Amy Calvert, who has been named the new CEO of the Events Industry Council. We look forward to working with Amy when she starts her new role in May.


We are in the final planning stages for our CEO Summit in Asheville. We have a record number of over 250 CEOs and industry leaders coming in for our event. The agenda is rich in content, covering a wide range of timely and important topics for our industry. Thank you to Stephanie Pace Brown at Explore Ashville for her support and we are looking forward to exploring Asheville!

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International