Biweekly Update: July 13, 2018

Greetings and happy Friday.

I am writing to you today from the beautiful city of Anaheim, where over 1,620 of our industry peers gathered for our 104th Annual Convention. We had over 55 concurrent sessions, inspiring keynote speakers and more than 100 exhibitors on an action-packed exhibit floor. Thank you to Jay Burress and his team at Visit Anaheim for being such amazing hosts. Thanks also to Gary Sherwin, CDME, President & CEO of Newport Beach & Company and Kelly Miller, CDME, President & CEO of Visit Huntington Beach for joining Visit Anaheim in hosting our Opening Reception on Tuesday night. 

During the convention, we had the opportunity to thank Tammy Blount-Canavan, FCDME, President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCCVB) and Stephanie Pace Brown, President and CEO of Explore Asheville for their vision and guidance this past year.

We welcomed our new Destinations International Board Chair, William Pate, President and CEO of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and our new Foundation Board Chair, Jason Fulvi, CDME, Executive Vice President of VisitPITTSBURGH. Congratulations to you both and we look forward to working with you to continue to advance our industry and our work at Destinations International.

This week we announced two very important partnerships with NASC and IAVM. Destinations International will partner with NASC to provide their members the opportunity to subscribe to Destinations International’s Event Impact Calculator (EIC) Sports Module in communities where the destination organization does not already hold the Sports Module of the EIC. Read the press release here. The partnership with IAVM will launch in the fall of 2018 and will offer a new Local and Public Events Module of the Destinations International Event Impact Calculator (EIC), which will enable destination organizations and convention centers to share economic data for meetings and events that take place in the city. Read the press release here.

We recognized this year’s Hall of Fame inductees including:

  • Anja Loetscher, Retired; Former Director, Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation
  • Marian Holt McLain, Retired; Former President & CEO, San Jose CVB
  • William (Bill) Peeper, Retired; Former President & CEO, Orlando CVB
  • Deborah Sexton, Former President & CEO, PCMA

We had the pleasure of congratulating 33 destination organizations with the DMAP designation and 18 professionals that earned their CDME. Thanks to the ongoing leadership of Barry White, Maura Gast and David Holder for these important programs.

We had 30 young industry leaders be recognized with our 30 Under 30 program. Thanks to Mike Gamble with SearchWide Global, Shalise DeMott with Northstar Meetings Group and Carina Bauer with IMEX Group for their support of this program.

We had five incredible keynote sessions. Abby Wambach inspired us with her four core messages she delivered including: let failure be your fuel, lead from where you are, match your time and actions with your value and enjoy the ride. Global All Stars, presented by Miles Partnership, brought together three exciting speakers and three critical trends which are reshaping destinations and travel. Thanks to the amazing support of Caroline Beteta who partnered with Chef Tyler Florence to tell the inspiring story on the recovery from the October wildfires. Caroline was also recognized and honored as this year’s Destination Organization Leadership Award recipient. Brand USA shared the compelling nature of storytelling and exciting live entertainment. Shaun MacGillivray, President and Producer of MacGillivray Freeman Films, shared how he worked with Brand USA to create the global successes National Parks Adventure and America’s Musical Journey, along with amazing talent. Cathy Tull with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Brad Dean with Discover Puerto Rico shared how they dealt with the unimaginable challenges that affected their destinations. Their stories of recovery and community were truly inspiring.

Brand USA offered several engaging and inspiring sessions throughout the event as well as the keynote session. Special thanks to Chris Thompson and the Brand USA team for their unwavering support of Destinations International.

Thank you to the volunteer speakers who unselfishly shared their knowledge and expertise during the over 55 breakout sessions.

Thanks to Kathleen Ratcliffe and Brian Hall with Explore St. Louis who will be our hosts next year for our 2019 Annual Convention. Mark your calendar for July 23-26, 2019!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to learn and celebrate our industry. And last but not least, I want to thank our hardworking and dedicated team at Destinations International for all they do every day to support our industry. We are so blessed to do what we do for a living and that was on full display this week in Anaheim.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend!


Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International