Biweekly Newsletter: June 7, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday from beautiful southern California.

I know many of us spent some time in Anaheim, CA this week for U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the leading international inbound travel trade show that drives $4.7 billion in future travel to the United States. This year the event had over 6,200 delegates in attendance. Being on the show floor at IPW continues to be a vivid reminder on the need for the reauthorization of Brand USA.

Congratulations to Roger Dow and Chris Thompson and their teams for producing another excellent event. Congratulations also to Jay Burress and his team at Visit Anaheim. As you know, our team is very familiar with the great city of Anaheim and their team’s capabilities of putting on an excellent event. We had our Annual Convention there last year and it was a great experience! Thanks also to Gary Sherwin with Visit Newport Beach, Kelly Miller with Visit Huntington Beach and Caroline Beteta with Visit California for hosting leaders from around the world throughout the week.


Last week, Dawn Holden, Andreas Weissenborn and I had the opportunity to meet with our partners in Canada during the annual Rendevous in Toronto. Thanks to the ongoing Board leadership of David Peacock, Minto Schneider and Leslie Bruce, we continue to increase our membership throughout Canada, with education and products driving that expansion. We currently have 40 Canadian members enrolled in our CDME program and 14 Canadian destinations using the Event Impact Calculator (EIC). We are thrilled to add additional value for Canadian tourism organizations by working collectively with our Canadian Member Task Force, which will work collectively with the Destinations International team to ensure new products and events are beneficial for Canadian destinations.

Our team is always eager to learn ways to improve our association through professional development. This week, Caitlyn Blizzard and Paula Beck in our Marketing and Communications department attended ASAE’s Marketing, Communications and Membership Conference in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to John Graham, Robb Lee and the ASAE team on a successful conference!

This past week Jack Johnson and Foundation Board Member, Stephanie Pace Brown with Explore Asheville, spoke at the City Nations Place Americas Conference on the importance of destination organizations becoming a shared community value. City Nation Place Americas is the forum for place branding and place marketing across the USA and Canada.  


On Monday, May 27, Nina Winston represented Destinations International as we welcomed 50 attendees from 31 destinations to Mexico City for our third annual DMOs Day, held in conjunction with IBTM Americas. A full day of educational programming, peer knowledge exchange and industry networking for our participants was a powerful kickoff to a busy week. Thanks to IBTM Americas, Northstar Meetings Group, Simpleview and TripAdvisor for their support of this event. Special thanks to Ana Maria Viscasillas with Business Tourism Services who has worked with us to build this program.

Also in Mexico, we are excited to welcome the Quintana Roo Tourism Board to the Destinations International team as our newest member. Thanks to Nina Winston for leading this effort in Mexico.


Destinations International, World Travel Market (WTM) and MMGY Global have partnered to conduct an ongoing industry study to better understand the trends impacting today’s top travel and tourism organizations. We invite you to participate in this study, which will require less than 10 minutes of your time. For your participation, we will send you a copy of the summary report from the data we collect. In the first wave of this survey, we are seeking to better understand two key topics: how you currently engage with social influencers in marketing and how you assess your involvement in community advocacy. Please complete this survey by June 13. You may click here to access the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation.


We are anxiously getting ready for our Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO. In addition to announcing our concurrent sessions this week, we announced Sarah Robb O'Hagan as a keynote speaker. Sarah Robb O'Hagan is an executive, activist and entrepreneur. Sarah is the former Chief Executive Officer of the indoor cycling company Flywheel Sports. Prior to that role, she was the Global President of the $5Bn sports brand Gatorade, where she successfully led the business through a major repositioning and business turnaround, and Global President of the luxury fitness company Equinox, where she reinvented the offering through a significant technology transformation.

In a fast-paced presentation, Sarah will show 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. Drawing on her decades of experience at some of the world's most influential brands, she shares practical takeaways including how to make failure your fuel and bring out the "extreme" in others. We hope you will join us in St. Louis July 23-25, 2019! You may click here to register.


Last but not least, it is my pleasure to congratulate our Board Chair and President and CEO of the Atlanta CVB, William Pate, on receiving the Atlanta Business League's Herman J. Russell CEO of the Year Award. Needless to say, that this was a well-deserved award. Under William’s leadership, the Atlanta CVB continues to grow and distinguish itself as a CVB leader statewide and nationally, which favorably impacts Atlanta's economy and the State of Georgia exponentially.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International