Biweekly Newsletter: May 10, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday.

As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week here in the United States, we are reminded of the far-reaching impact that travel has on our economies. In the U.S. alone, travel generated $2.5 trillion for the U.S. economy in 2018. In Canada it drove $90 billion in economic activity. Travel is responsible for putting 1 in 10 people to work not only in the U.S., but across the globe. But we all know that travel goes beyond just numbers. Our destination organizations are a core function within our communities and the work we do in our destinations is important as it builds vibrant neighborhoods, creates good jobs and develops opportunities for people in communities around the world.  

As we continue to roll out what we call the Ideology of Destination Promotion and the New Tourism Lexicon, Jack Johnson has been presenting his “Becoming a Community Shared Value” strategy to a range of destination organization professionals. At its core, Jack is arguing that support of destination promotion is for the benefit and well-being of every person in a community. It is a common good, a public good. It is an essential community investment to develop opportunities and build quality of life to benefit the people of a destination. After detailing the strategy at the CEO Summit in Asheville, NC, Jack presented at the CMO Summit in Houston, TX, at the Virginia Association of Destination Marketing Organizations meeting in Lynchburg, VA and before our own Planner Influencer Board last week in D.C.

Jack and his team will continue to update the presentation based on feedback received and will formally present this strategic shift of how we think and talk about ourselves at our Annual Convention in St. Louis. Coinciding with this, his team will also release a new Policy Brief detailing this important strategic shift. In the pipeline for delivery by the end of the year is the Becoming A Shared Community Value Workbook to assist destination organizations in implementing the concept. In the meantime, if you have questions about this strategy, please contact Jack Johnson directly at [email protected].


This week, I had the chance to speak at the Pasadena Convention Center’s “10 Years of Excellence” event. While visiting, I was reminded of my childhood (a long time ago!) memories of this beautiful part of Southern California. Every New Year’s morning, we would watch the Rose Bowl Parade and then move on to the Rose Bowl game in afternoon. The crystal-clear blue skies and beautiful mountains in Pasadena planted a seed for travel at an early age and it was a pleasure and honor to help them celebrate yesterday. Special thanks to Jeanne O’Grady Goldschmidt, Executive Director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, for inviting me to speak.

Jack Johnson, Elaine Rosquist and Alyssa Poulin attended the NASC Symposium in Knoxville, TN this week. Jack presented at a session on the Weaponization of Travel – Travel Boycotts and Bans. Elaine led a team in a packed-house session discussing the use of the Event Impact Calculator (EIC). She was joined by Don Dukemineer with Foley Sports Tourism; Gen Howard with Louisville Tourism; and Geoff Lacher with Tourism Economics. Both Elaine and Alyssa logged many hours at the show floor’s Technology Booth, handling individual requests for more information. The EIC is proving to be a sought-after product in the sports commission field. To learn more about the EIC, you may click here.


Our Chief Operating Officer, Melissa Cherry, just returned from the “Tourism Cares for Puerto Rico” program, which was designed to harness the transformative power and the collective strength of our industry through hands-on volunteering, knowledge exchange and exploration of business integration. This group, comprised of 150 industry professionals, focused on social impact with an emphasis on food sovereignty and how tourism businesses can play a role in making local communities more sustainable.

The group joined together to plant native trees, build fences, clear brush left from Hurricane Maria, all as an effort to aid in the development of farmland for future entrepreneurs and local farmers. Special thanks to Tourism Cares and Discover Puerto Rico for putting this project together and helping our friends in Puerto Rico.


Last Friday, we held a meeting for our Planner Influencer Board. This very important group of leaders in the meetings and events industry will help Destinations International’s business events strategy by collaborating with our team on future product and educational offerings. We look forward to working with this group throughout the year. Our Planner Influencer Board includes:

  • Deirdre Clemmons, CMP, Vice President, Meetings, Education and Partnerships of Airports Council International
  • Bobby Heard, MBA, CAE, Chief Operating Officer of American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Mary Pat Heftman, President, Restaurant Show Group of National Restaurant Association Show at Winsight Exhibitions
  • Kelly Ricker, Executive Vice President, Events & Education at CompTIA
  • Jill Gately, CMP, Director of Event Operations of National Investment Center of Seniors Housing & Care (NIC)
  • William Reed, FASAE, CMP, Chief Event Strategy Officer of American Society of Hematology
  • Matthew Wales, CMP, Vice President, Member Services & Events of American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • Michael Barratt, CMP, Senior Vice President, Meetings and Events of Auto Care Association
  • Olga Lymberis, Director Event and Digital Marketing of Microsoft Corp.
  • Jenna Cummins, CMP, Director, Strategic Accounts of Experient, Inc.
  • Garland Preddy, CGMP, Education and Training Consultant of Society of Government Meeting Professionals
  • Carol McGury, Executive Vice President, Event and Education Services of SmithBucklin
  • Katia McKennon, Principal of Meeting Management Services
  • Richard Harper, Executive Vice President of HelmsBriscoe


Earlier this week, many of us attended PCMA’s Visionary Awards in Washington, D.C. Congrats to Sherrif Karamat and his team at PCMA for this wonderful event that recognizes and celebrates industry icons. Congratulations to the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Honorees including:

  • Chris Wehking, CMP, Association and Business Relations Executive of American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
  • Eduardo Chaillo, CMP, CMM, CASE, CEO of Global Meetings & Tourism Specialists
  • Lauren Kramer, CAE, MTA, CMP, Founder & Principal at Meeting Priorities, LLC

The event was a fantastic showcase for the strength of the business events community, and we were thrilled to see so many of our members there to benefit and support the PCMA Foundation.


Our DestinationNEXT Futures Study survey is open until May 24, 2019. We invite you to join destinations from around the world to provide critical input. You may click here to take the survey.

Registration for our 2019 Annual Convention in St. Louis is now open! You may click here to register. This week, we were thrilled to announce our Global All Stars keynote session, which brings together three exciting speakers and three critical trends which are reshaping destinations and travel.

  • Signe Jungersted, Director of Development of Wonderful Copenhagen: Signe is a leading force in Copenhagen's bold new approach to travel, declaring The End of Tourism and welcoming a new era of localhood.
  • Allon Cohne, Chief Marketing Officer of Vibram Corporation: A seasoned marketing executive with a specialty in brand building, Allon is now focused on the outdoor industry working with top global footwear brands.
  • Mark Ellwood, Contributing Editor of Conde Nast Traveler: Mark has spent most of his adult life living out of a suitcase, joining Conde Nast Traveler as a journalist to roam around the world unearthing the most unusual and interesting travel stories.

You may learn more about these inspiring speakers here. We hope to see you in St. Louis!


Last but not least, it is our pleasure to officially welcome Dawn Holden to our team as our Vice President of Membership Engagement. Dawn joins Kate Skidmore, Quineesa Smith and Vernon Hemphill in our Membership Engagement Department. This dedicated team is here to serve you in all your membership needs.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International