Biweekly Newsletter: June 21, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday.

I hope this note finds you well.

We are thrilled to host all of you in St. Louis – home of the new Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues – next month! Our team has been in full Annual Convention mode. If you haven’t registered yet, you may click here to register now.

We think you will be inspired by this year’s keynote speakers including:

  • The Global All-Stars featuring Signe Jungersted from Wonderful Copenhagen, Allon Cohne with Vibram and Mark Ellwood with Conde Nast Traveler.
  • Sarah Robb O'Hagan, a former leader at Flywheel Sports, Gatorade and Equinox, will show us a roadmap for becoming the most "extreme" version of yourself by operating at the edge of your potential and by building highly-collaborative, focused and successful teams.
  • Arwa Mahdawi, a weekly columnist for the Guardian covering everything from politics to pop culture and speaks to companies around the world about diversity in the workplace.
  • Brian Kelly … AKA The Points Guy, will share how his company has grown into a powerhouse travel and lifestyle media platform, receiving 10 million unique monthly visitors and more than 3 million followers on social media.
  • Jamie Clarke, Performance Coach for the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, Renowned Everest Adventurer and CEO of, will draw from his unique position as a winning performance coach and an accomplished adventurer turned acclaimed entrepreneur to help you develop your team, establish your purpose and succeed in any endeavor.

We have also been working hard with our session presenters on a great series of concurrent sessions this year. Results from our 2018 Annual Convention evaluation requested more diverse, quality education opportunities. With having four education time blocks presented in two days, we decided to extend these blocks to allow for up to two sessions within each block. This format will allow for more access on a diversity of topics for members to expand their professional development. Click here to view the full schedule.

Kitty Ratcliffe and her team at Explore St. Louis have some exciting celebrations lined up for us as well during Annual Convention. You may click here to see a video from Kitty and her team highlighting some of the city’s attractions.


After spending time in southern California last week, I had the opportunity to head north to see some of our Washington state-based members. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends at Expedia and Google. Special thanks to Tom Norwalk and his team at Visit Seattle; Brad Jones and his team at Visit Bellevue; Tim Carr, CEO of the Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue; and Katherine Kertzman with Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority.

With the tech sector leading the way, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and many other technology companies continue their expansion which has transformed many parts of Seattle and Bellevue. Having previously lived and worked in the Seattle area, I can tell you that the incredible expansion taking place is simply unprecedented. I know that rapid growth is taking place in many cities around the world, leading to challenges in serving tourists, convention attendees and the local community. This area is very fortunate to have leaders such as Tom, Brad and Katherine in their roles.

I then had a chance to head east to Spokane, Washington to spend time with Meg Winchester, who has been in the CEO role at Visit Spokane for about five months after a successful career in Galveston, Texas. Spokane has also enjoyed significant growth in new hotels, attractions, culinary tourism and a vibrant waterfront, where the convention center is located. I spent time with David Condon, the Mayor of Spokane, and many of the civic and tourism leaders at a dinner while in Spokane. Then, I had the opportunity to speak at the Visit Spokane Annual Meeting which drew in over 300 guests at the beautiful Arbor Crest Winery just outside of the city. It goes without saying that I really enjoy spending time with our members in their communities and learning how we can better support the mission of our members’ organizations.


Earlier this week I had the opportunity to present at MPI’s WEC Meeting in Toronto, home to the NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors. Needless to say, Toronto’s overthrow of the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, brought a level of excitement to the city and country that has not been seen before.

I appreciated the stage time at WEC to talk about the benefits and services destination organizations can provide to the meetings industry. Special thanks to Paul Van Deventer and his team for their leadership and commitment to our industry.


Jack Johnson has been busy presenting his Shared Community Value strategy with members and receiving feedback. He presented at the Indiana Tourism Association meeting in Carmel, Indiana and at a senior team meeting with Visit Baltimore in their brand new office in Baltimore, MD. Jack has done seven of these presentations since first presenting at the CEO Summit earlier this year. All of the feedback is being reviewed and incorporated into Jack's presentation that will happen at our Annual Convention in July. 


Destinations International is thrilled to welcome the following new members:

  • CJRW
  • Bellweather Agency
  • Brad Weaber Consulting Group
  • Dublin Convention Bureau, Ireland
  • Seoul Tourism Council, Korea
  • Visit Rome, Wisconsin


Are you a MINT or EIC user? Your input is needed! As a valued member of Destinations International, we want to get your feedback on MINT, ORDA and our EIC products. Destinations International and JLL are partnering together to gather input for the future evolution of these products. Please take a few moments to participate in this survey or forward it to appropriate staff in your office.

Our team continuously evaluates how we can better serve our members. We are excited to announce that because of your feedback, Destinations International will be releasing our new and improved Member Portal on July 29, 2019. The new Member Portal will allow you to easily update your organization and personal profile, register for events and better access the Destinations International community and resources. Our team will be sharing the new portal at the Destinations International booth during our Annual Convention. So, stop by and try the new experience before the new system goes live. We look forward to sharing more information on the new Member Portal in the coming weeks.


Last but not least, we are pleased to announce that registration for the 2019 C-Suite Session: CVBs Engaged!, is now open! The event will take place August 9-11, 2019 in Columbus, OH and we will be collaborating with ASAE to bring CVB CEOs and board members together to learn more about succession planning and governance challenges. This insightful educational and networking opportunity will allow CVB members to expand their expertise in governance and gain insights that will provide value year-round. You may register here.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International