Biweekly Newsletter: August 16, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday from Washington, D.C.

Let me begin by congratulating Brian Ross and his team at Experience Columbus for their gracious hospitality while hosting ASAE’s Annual Meeting. As many of you know, this was a five-year journey for Columbus to secure this very important industry meeting. I know many of you were in attendance and will agree that the city, its partners, and the over 600 volunteers made us feel welcome from the time we landed until the time we departed. Mayor Andrew Ginther as well as many other elected leaders attended multiple events that took place during the conference. We had the opportunity to have Mayor Ginther speak at our CEO Summit earlier this year in Asheville, NC, and I know we were all very impressed with his deep commitment and passion for our industry.

Most importantly, special thanks to John Graham for his bold decision to bring ASAE’s Annual Meeting to Columbus. John was not able to attend this year’s meeting as he is currently undergoing cancer treatments. John has been a true friend, leader and ambassador for our industry for many years. I know you all join me in sending our best wishes and prayers to John as he continues with his battle. Susan Robertson, Interim CEO for ASAE, welcomed everyone on Sunday morning and did a brilliant job with her team during the conference.


Again, we are in full planning mode for our upcoming fall discipline-focused summits. We invite you and your team to register and join us at the following upcoming events:                                                          

You may find a full list of our upcoming events, including Destination Showcase on February 5, 2020 in Washington, D.C. here.

Thanks to those of you who attended our Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO. We hope you found it worthwhile and productive. Thanks also to those who responded to our survey and shared your honest and candid feedback on how we can continually improve all of our events at Destinations International. Please know that your feedback is appreciated.


This week, Matt Ozuna and Andreas Weissenborn from our Research and Advocacy team attended the STR Hotel Data Conference in Nashville, TN. The conference represents one of the top opportunities for destinations to focus on revenue, analytics, forecasts and performance of the global occupancy sector. Returning to Nashville every year for this conference always provides insights and impacts of this important part of our industry. Thank you STR for another great event.

Dawn Holden, VP of Membership Engagement, attended the Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus (TACVB) Annual Conference in Denton, TX. She had the opportunity to connect with Kim Phillips, Executive Director of TACVB, and many of our members in attendance.


We would like to welcome our newest destination organization member, the Montgomery County (IN) Visitors & Convention Bureau. Thanks to Heather Shirk, Executive Director, for your commitment and support of Destinations International and our industry. We look forward to serving you!

Thank you to those who have joined us on our monthly membership webinars. These webinars are open to all Destinations International members and we encourage you and your team to take advantage of this member benefit. We have two upcoming webinars for you to take advantage of:

Destinations International, the International Association of Venue Managers and Tourism Economics have partnered to produce the Local & Public Events (LPE) Module for the Event Impact Calculator (EIC), providing destinations with the tools they need to assess all types of events occurring at a stand-alone facility. You may click here to learn more information about this product. We are excited to offer a webinar for you to preview this latest tool for calculating the economic impact of events in your destination. You may click here to register for the webinar.


This week, we were thrilled to welcome Rori Ferensic, our new Senior Director of Education, to our team. Rori will lead the development of integrated curricula and programs for our members. She will be responsible for leading the initiatives to curate and design cutting edge educational opportunities for the annual convention, summits, certification programs and online opportunities. She will also be responsible for assisting with the development of a comprehensive educational strategy for the organization. Prior to joining Destinations International, Rori was the Director of Education and Credentialing at the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), the national trade association representing the $25 billion US convenience services industry. Previously, she held senior level positions at several trade and professional associations, where she spent time developing, growing and managing association-based certification and education programs, initiating and managing partnerships and alliances, negotiating contracts and strategizing for new product development and organizational growth.


I know you all join me in expressing our condolences, thoughts and prayers to Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that were the latest cities that have unfortunately been impacted by isolated and cowardly acts of terrorism in their communities.


I am looking forward to spending time with Dennis Edwards, President and CEO of Visit Raleigh, and his team this coming week for their Annual Meeting. Under his leadership, great things continue to happen in Raleigh, and I am thrilled and honored to participate in their annual event.

For those of you heading to Austin, TX for ESTO, we wish you safe travels.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International