Biweekly Newsletter: November 22, 2019

Greetings and happy Friday.

Let me begin by thanking all of those who were able to attend last week’s Advocacy Summit in Madison, WI. We had very high expectations going into the meeting and between the great content that was developed by the Advocacy Committee and our advocacy team, the feedback has been outstanding.

As we all know, these are unprecedented times in our industry with destinations around the world facing many challenges. Not only were these tough issues discussed, but content experts also provided the latest insights and trends to help solve these complex problems. One of the highlights is always hearing from Adam Sacks with Tourism Economics on the economy and information important to our industry. As you know, Adam is quite a musician and he treated our guests to a live performance of the latest financial trends through music. He concluded his presentation with his version of “Don’t Stop Believing” and was joined by the audience of over 200 people playing kazoos. Who says math can’t be fun?

Special thanks to Deb Archer, CDME, and her entire team at Destination Madison. They truly went above and beyond to make our attendees feel welcomed. Also, it is always nice to see CVB board leadership in attendance at our events and Deb’s board chair, Greg Frank, was with us for the entire meeting. When the summit ended, Jack Johnson and I had the chance to spend more time with Deb, Greg and the Destination Madison board of directors to share tourism updates and thank them for their hospitality.


Last week at the Advocacy Summit and again this week in Washington, D.C., Destinations International held meetings with various Japanese destination organizations on how they can work with us through educational programs and destination tools such as CDME and DMAP. Organizations involved in the discussions included the Japan Tourism Agency, San'in Tourism Organization, Akita Inu Tourism, Akitainu Tourism, Gero-Spa Tourist Association and Gero Onsen Suimeikan. We look forward to continuing these conversations in the months to come and we thank them for traveling to Madison, WI and Washington, D.C. to meet with us.


With our Advocacy Summit behind us, we are excited about our last event of 2019, the Convention Sales and Services Leadership Forum. This event is being held on December 16 in Chicago, IL, the day before Association Forum’s Holiday Showcase. Attendees will gain perspective to inform their convention and meetings strategies for 2020 and beyond, understand key industry indicators and trends and hear about economic indicators to pay attention to. If you haven’t had the chance to register yet, we invite you to register now. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to network with peers and explore what’s on the horizon.

Last week, we were excited to announce the keynote speaker for Destination Showcase on February 5, 2020. Sara Ross, the co-founder of BrainAMPED, mixes “street science” with research to understand what makes high-performing leaders successful. There are still spots open to exhibit at next year’s event where you will get the chance to hear from Sara and meet with event organizers looking for a destination to host their next meeting. As of today, we have sold 93 booths and space will soon become limited for this very exciting event. We encourage you to secure your space soon here.


Many of us were in Washington, D.C. this week for U.S. Travel’s Fall Board Meeting and the Hall of Leaders, which honors exemplary vision and leadership. Congratulations to Bob Moore, former longtime Hilton executive, and Nancy Novogrod, 21-year editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure, for being inducted into the distinguished group of Hall of Leaders.

Congratulations to Roger Dow and his team for all their great work, and in particular, Tori Barnes, for her leadership around the reauthorization of Brand USA. Thanks also to Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC for his great service as chair of U.S. Travel this year.


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend and participate on a panel discussion during TIAC’s annual meeting in Ottawa, Canada along with Mary Taylor Ash, CEO, of Tourism Saskatchewan. Special thanks to Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, for inviting me to speak at this important event.

We are very proud of our growth in Canada in terms of members, CDME graduates and EIC subscribers. Thanks to our new Canadian Task Force and our very dedicated Canadian board of directors including Leslie Bruce with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, Paul Nursey with Destination Greater Victoria and Scott Beck, the newly appointed President and CEO of the Toronto CVB for their work in elevating our membership in Canada.


Matt Ozuna, our Advocacy and Data Manager, had the opportunity to speak to the attendees at this year’s VA1 Tourism Summit in Arlington, VA. Matt shared insights from the DestinationNEXT Futures Study and spoke on becoming a community shared value and how to live the Tourism Lexicon.

We’d also like to thank Fritz Smith of Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (formerly Central PA CVB) and the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association for inviting Andreas Weissenborn, our Senior Director of Research and Advocacy, to speak on the New Tourism Lexicon at their Annual Conference this past week in New Bedford, Pennsylvania.


This year’s Destinations International Foundation Annual Investment Campaign is in the homestretch. We have raised $384,500, which is 65% of our goal of $595,000 in this fiscal year. Thank you to everyone who has committed so far. In order to hit our goal, we need $210,500 in commitments for 2019. Please know that these funds support the important work of the Destinations International Foundation and all the work our team is doing in the areas of advocacy and research. It also underwrites our initiatives in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion and talent development.  If you are ready to make your commitment or have any questions, please contact Mary Bramley at [email protected] or 202-835-4215.


We are now accepting presentation proposals for our 2020 Annual Convention, taking place July 13-15, 2020 in Chicago, IL. We are looking for sessions that showcase success stories, thought leadership, and cutting-edge ideas in all dimensions of destination organizations and the broader travel and tourism industry. Help guide industry dialogue for 2020 and let your voice be heard by submitting a session proposal here by December 17, 2019.

We wanted to remind everyone submitting their Annual Progress Report for the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) that their reports are due by January 31, 2020. If you have questions or need to check your application status, please reach out to us at [email protected].

For our members and partners in the U.S., we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and we hope you get a chance to enjoy this wonderful time of year with family, friends and loved ones.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International