Biweekly Newsletter: November 30, 2018

Greetings from Washington, D.C. and happy Friday.

For those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving, we hope you had a relaxing and fun time with family and friends.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to present at the USTOA DMO Forum in Scottsdale, AZ. Thanks to our good friend, Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA, for the invitation to speak. This was an opportunity to present to a large international delegation of destination organization leaders who are primarily charged to generate leisure tourism for their destinations. In preparing for this presentation, we asked experienced partners and leaders what they believe a destination organization needs to look like in order to be successful in this highly competitive market. It is my pleasure to present a short video clip from Chris Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA, Beth Erickson, President and CEO of Visit Loudoun and David Burgess, President of Miles Partnership. Thanks again to these great partners for sharing their insights and perspectives.


As we enter the busy holiday season, two key industry events will help us close out an exciting year.

LGBTQ Tourism Forum, December 2-4, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, FL: This year, Destinations International is partnering with our friends, Community Marketing and Insights (CMI) and IGLTA, for the LGBTQ Summit. In its 19th year, this summit brings together leading industry professionals to share insights about the LGBTQ Market. Good luck to John Tanzella, President/CEO of IGLTA, and Thomas Roth, President at CMI, and their teams.

Convention Sales and Services Summit, December 8-10, New Orleans, LA
Based on member feedback, we have renamed, reimagined and redesigned this summit to now offer content focused on strategic sales and services for CVB executives. The rules are changing for meetings and events and CVBs have a unique opportunity to fill a crucial role in the delivery and execution of successful events for those in the meetings industry. Attendees will benefit from the diverse perspectives of professionals from across the industry spectrum. Our registered attendee list includes over 100 professionals from 31 states, from CVBs of all budget types and sizes. Our partner and good friend, Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO of PCMA, will get things started at our Sunday morning keynote, and we look forward to seeing many of our members in New Orleans.


Have you registered for Destination Showcase? As a Destinations International member, you have the opportunity to purchase a booth with our early bird pricing, now open through January 7, 2019. Not only will you be able to network with the nation’s top meeting planners, you will be able to see Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer, Leslie Odom Jr. as our keynote speaker. Last year’s event had over 1,000 meeting planners in attendance. Trust us, you don’t want to miss this event. You may learn more and become an exhibitor here.

We are excited to announce that we are accepting session proposals for the 2019 Annual Convention in St. Louis. If you can help deliver outstanding educational sessions, we would love to hear from you! Proposal submissions are due January 7, 2019. Learn more and submit your proposal here.


Join our friends at Miles Partnership for an upcoming webinar on the “Seven Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Destination and Tourism Marketers in 2019.” This webinar will be held on December 12, 2018 at 2 p.m. EST. You may learn more and register here.

Our new Strategic Partner, Digital Edge, has a new webinar coming up titled "How Destination Imagery Impacts the Expectation of Experience” on December 5, 2018 at 1 p.m. EST. You may learn more and register here.

Congratulations to Kevin Kane, President and CEO of the Memphis CVB, for the approval of the long-planned modernization and expansion of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. You may learn more about the project here.

The Aurora City Council recently approved a proposal to enact an assessment on city hotels which is estimated to generate an additional $3M to promote tourism to Aurora by 2020. Revenues realized through the new Destination Marketing Improvement Fee (DMIF) will be utilized by Visit Aurora to increase sales, marketing, and awareness of the city of Aurora, Colorado, as a premier destination for visitors and conventions. Congratulations to Bruce Dalton, President and CEO of Visit Aurora, and his team on this competitive funding that will be used to attract additional tourism opportunities.


We will finish on a great high note today in congratulating our friend and colleague, Kelly Craighead, who was appointed President and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). You may learn more about Kelly’s new position here

Kelly has been an important tourism ally. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism in the Obama Administration and this past year, Kelly has been an important advisor to our team on important initiatives for our industry. Congratulations again to Kelly and we look forward to working with her in her new role.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend and we hope to see you at one of our upcoming events.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International