Biweekly Newsletter: December 6, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday from Washington, D.C.

I hope you have all had a great week and it was a pleasure to see many of you in Las Vegas, NV for IAEE’s Expo! Expo! and the many other meetings that took place during the week. Congratulations to IAEE President and CEO and Destinations International Board member, David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, and his team for a highly successful event this year. I understand from many in attendance that a lot of solid business was transacted, and we hope everyone had a safe trip home.

While in Las Vegas, I had the chance to join Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council, and fellow Board members for a highly productive planning retreat for the organization. The Certified Meeting Planner program (CMP) has long been associated with the organization and it was exciting to discuss future growth opportunities around the world for this great organization.


We were thrilled to learn this week that Destinations International Board Chair and VisitPITTSBURGH President and CEO, Craig Davis, was named the new CEO of VisitDallas. We congratulate Craig on this exciting new career opportunity and there is no doubt that he will have a significant impact with key stakeholders, elected leaders and tourism partners in Dallas. We wish him well!


On December 3, the Destinations International Foundation participated in #GivingTuesday. Thank you to our 15 donors who contributed. If you weren’t able to participate on Tuesday, it is not too late! You can give at any time of year here. Special thanks to John Groh, who gave the first gift, Keith Backsen, Alyssa Poulin, Mary Bramley, Chelsea Welter, Aimee Bramley, Kristen Johnson, David Breisch, Maura Gast, Barbra Gustis, Juliet Velazquez, John Jr., Kristin McGrath and Meghan Risch! We could not have done it without you.


This week Jack Johnson spoke to over 90 tourism leaders at the California Travel Association Board of Directors meeting about destination organizations becoming a “community shared value” and operating as a “community asset.” He also discussed which California legislators and mayors were talking about topics of concern to the industry. Congratulations to Kathy Janega-Dykes, President and CEO of Santa Barbara for hosting a great meeting. Also, special thanks to Barb Newton, President and CEO of the California Travel Association, and her team for all they have done to make CalTravel such a successful organization. 


We are excited to welcome 9 new members to Destinations International. Our team has enjoyed onboarding these destination organizations and looks forward to working with them. Thanks to the following CVBs for their support:

  • Galena Country Tourism
  • Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
  • Lake County Board of County Commissioners
  • Martin County Tourism & Marketing Office
  • Southern Queensland Tourism
  • Tourism Jasper
  • Visit Mendocino County
  • Visit PA
  • Visit Portland Maine


Destinations International is committed to delivering relevant, convenient and affordable education to the industry. We will be launching a series of webinars in 2020, designed to provide our members with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to be successful. We are seeking content that showcases success stories, thought leadership and cutting-edge ideas in all dimensions of destination organizations and the broader travel and tourism industry. Be a part of guiding industry dialogue in 2020 – Submit a webinar proposal. Webinars will be scheduled during the first half of 2020. The submission deadline is December 31, 2019.

We are thrilled to announce that Fired Up! Culture is our newest Premier Partner. The organization is focused on elevating destination organizations through strengthened culture, leadership development and building high-performance teams. The organization uses proven, innovative tools and data-driven solutions to help organizations understand how to inspire their team members, foster a culture of excellence, and experience business breakthroughs like never before. We are excited to work with our Immediate Past Board Chair, Tammy Blount Canavan, Executive Vice President and Principal of Destination Travel Practice and Chris Ihrig, CEO, Fired Up! Culture.


Unfortunately, the continued weaponization of travel is providing multiple challenges to our destination members. I am sure many of you have seen the news of the new funding challenges happening with Visit Florida. As we all know, we live in a highly competitive world where communities are competing with one another for their share of consumers, talent and investment. Targeted efforts must be made to promote, market and engage potential visitors. Our team has been working with the Visit Florida and Destinations Florida teams to help in any way we can. Recently, we had the opportunity to submit an op-ed in support of Visit Florida in the Miami Herald. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, we encourage you to read it today and share it with your colleagues.

We look forward to welcoming our foundation and association board of directors to Washington, D.C. next week for our annual board meetings. We will review year-end projections and highlights from this year and more importantly, a presentation of our 2020 business plan and budgets.

Thanks again to all of you for your great support and enjoy your weekend!

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International