Biweekly Newsletter: February 15, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday.

It is my pleasure to report an exceptional week for our industry and our Association. We started last weekend with our CDME and PDM programs which had 60 dedicated attendees in class. Thanks to our dedicated faculty and those involved in making education a critical and ongoing component of what we do.

We hosted our 2019 Partner Summit that was well-attended with representation from more than 40 partners. Over the course of two days, partners networked, exchanged ideas on industry trends, and learned about Destinations International’s vision for the year. Additionally, we hosted numerous Board meetings, a DMAP Board meeting, an Advocacy Committee meeting, a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force meeting and Convention Sales and Services Committee meeting. Special thanks to all of you for your time and support of Destinations International.


Each year we have the privilege of hosting the Spirit of Hospitality Celebration. This year, we honored travel ambassador, Samantha Brown, with the Spirit of Hospitality Award, our highest award of recognition. Special thanks to our Trailblazer Sponsor, Tempest, and all of our sponsors that were involved in making this a fun and rewarding night for the Destinations International Foundation.

It is our single largest fundraising event of the year and plays a critical role in securing the financial health of the Foundation. Thanks to Foundation Board Chair, Jason Fulvi, incoming Board Chair, John Groh, Association Board Chair, William Pate and the Spirit of Hospitality Committee led by Kathleen Frankford and Gregg Shapiro. After Samantha received her award, the party began with the Pat McGee Band and we were rewarded with musical performances by Adam Sacks, Jake Buganski and of course, guitar wizard, Gregg Shapiro. Thanks to all of you who helped make this a successful event. 

On Wednesday, we hosted our 31st annual Destination Showcase at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. We want to thank the 122 exhibitors and over 800 meeting planners who attended. We started off the morning with planner education sessions hosted by PCMA. Special thanks to Sherrif Karamat and his team for putting the sessions together. The highlight of the morning was hearing from Tony and Grammy-Award winner, Leslie Odom Jr. who shared inspiring words from his new book, “Failing Up.” Thanks again to the many sponsors and partners who played a critical role in making Destination Showcase a big success. And, a big thanks and shout out to my team at Destinations International for their flawless execution and dedication in making these events a success.


On February 11, Destinations International presented a session as part of the CSPI Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The session, “NEW Event Impact Calculator Module, How to Utilize this Tool for Convention Center and CVB Events” reviewed the Destinations International and IAVM City Pairs program and discussed the upcoming release of the Event Impact Calculator Local and Public Events Module. Thank you to Amy Calvert of Visit Baltimore, Mac Campbell of the Baltimore Convention Center, Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, of 2Synergize, LLC and Andreas Weissenborn of Destinations International for participating in this lively and informative presentation. A similar session will be offered as a webinar on Thursday, February 28 at 2 p.m. EST and we hope you and your team will join us. You may click here to register.


Congratulations to my friend and former colleague, Marc Anderson, on his well-deserved promotion to Chief Operating Officer at Choose Chicago. In this expanded role, Anderson will continue to oversee a team of 50 professionals in Convention Sales, Client Services, Special Events, Partnership, Sponsorship, Human Resources and now including the Chicago Sports Commission.

We would like to congratulate and welcome Leslie Bruce, President & CEO of Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, who will be joining our Association Board of Directors. We look forward to working with you!

This week, I have the privilege of representing our organization at AIME in Melbourne and I look forward to spending time with our partners and friends in Australia.

These are exciting days for our industry. Please accept my sincere thanks for your continued support of our work.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International