Biweekly Update: June 29, 2018

Greetings and happy Friday.

It goes without saying that these are very exciting times as our team prepares for our Annual Convention that will take place in Anaheim, CA July 10-13. I am pleased to report that we are rapidly approaching 1,500 registered attendees and we expect that number to grow. Thanks to all of you who have registered and are planning to attend. If you haven’t registered – there is still time! You may register here.

Colleen Phalen, our Executive Vice President of Educational Development and Meetings, and her team have assembled a great lineup of keynote speakers and they continue to work closely with Jay Burress and his team at Visit Anaheim to provide a great experience for all – including many families who will be joining us this year!

This year, we have over 55 concurrent sessions that cover a wide range of important topics. Here is some information on our keynote speakers:

  • Abby Wambach: Abby Wambach is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history with 184 career goals. Her ability to wear down defenses with her physical play, aerial game and hard running has long been a key to the USA's success. After winning the Women's World Cup in 2015, Wambach retired as one of the most dominant players in the history of women's soccer. A true leader on and off the field, Wambach is dedicating the next chapter of her career to fighting for equality and inclusion across industries.
  • Global All-Stars: World Leading Insights, Inspiration and Ideas: Presented by Miles Partnership, Global All Stars brings together three exciting speakers and three critical trends which are reshaping destinations and travel. Learn how Airbnb creates, curates and surfaces remarkable stories about destinations across the globe; a world-leading urban architect gives examples of cities and places that are transforming their public spaces to benefit visitors, locals, businesses and more; witness a live demo of AI with practical examples of how it is transforming travel today. Don't miss this essential panel with remarkable insights, inspiration and ideas for your destination.

    The Global All-Stars include: Cassidy Blackwell, Director of Strategic Partnerships of Airbnb; Alan Boniface, Partner of Dialog Design & Architects; and Bryan Healey, Director of Artificial Intelligence with Lola Travel.
  • Caroline Beteta of Visit California and Tyler Florence: More than 500 people gathered in a scenic vineyard along the Napa-Sonoma County line to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together and raise funds for wildfire relief. First responders, chefs, winemakers, tourism officials and many others gave time, energy and money to help those impacted by the October blazes. Join Tyler Florence and Caroline Beteta to hear how CVBs came together to inspire their communities and help them recover.
  • Brand USA Keynote Session featuring Shaun MacGillivray: Storytelling is the foundation of powerful, captivating and inspiring marketing. Join Chris Thompson of Brand USA for an engaging discussion about the compelling nature of storytelling and exciting live entertainment. This discussion will feature Shaun MacGillivray, President and Producer of MacGillivray Freeman Films, who worked with Brand USA to create the global successes National Parks Adventure and America’s Musical Journey, and Calma Carmona, singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico, who is featured in Brand USA’s “Hear the Music, Experience the USA.” campaign.
  • Marketing in Time of Crisis: Dealing with the Unimaginable: Cathy Tull from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Brad Dean from the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization will share their first-hand experiences with the unimaginable through their inspiring stories of recovery and community.
    • Cathy Tull, Chief Marketing Officer of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: Since joining Las Vegas CVA in 2005, Cathy Tull has held many roles including strategic planning and marketing. As a 22-year resident of Las Vegas, she has won numerous industry awards including Skift's Top 50 Travel Marketers and Outstanding Woman in Travel Industry Leadership. Tull is active in many industry organizations, serving as a member of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and a staff liaison for the U.S. Travel Association.
    • Brad Dean, Chief Executive Officer of Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization: Brad Dean is the newly-arrived CEO of the Puerto Rico DMO after having served as President and CEO of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. He is a huge advocate for the tourism industry, serving on the Global Leadership Committee for Destinations International, the U.S. Travel Association executive committee, as well as chair of U.S. Travel's Project: Time Off Coalition. Dean is also the recipient of the 2018 Fred P. Brinkman Award, which is presented to individuals that make exemplary leadership contributions to the travel and tourism industry in the state of South Carolina.

We are also thrilled to honor our 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 are also excited to celebrate Caroline Beteta, who will be accepting the Destination Organization Leadership Award in her home state of California!

In addition, we are very excited that a record number of 97 people will be in attendance for our CDME courses this year in Anaheim for Summer Learning Week! Thanks to our Board of Directors and the many committees, including the DMAP and CDME committees, that will be meeting the weekend before the Annual Convention. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our industry.

The Supreme Court upheld the Trump Travel Ban and we issued the following statement:

"Destinations International still believes that restrictions on travel should be based on policies and procedures that focus on a strategic process to address security issues and safe travel and not on nationality.  A ban based on nationality runs contrary to the principle of freedom of travel promoted by the international tourism community and sends a message to the world that the United States is not open for business.  We are pleased that the Trump Administration moved more toward safety procedures with its third version of the travel ban and the Supreme Court upheld this concept.

The focus now must be to work with the administration to ensure that a welcome message is reflected in the messaging and implementation of this policy, and all future public statements. Messaging that this ban is the result of an effort to ban people based on nationality or religion is counter-productive.  The reality is that shared values are becoming brand differentiators for destinations, and travelers are making decisions on where they visit based on values, not just experiences.

Our industry has an enormous economic impact and is responsible for the livelihoods of millions of American workers. But perhaps more importantly, travel bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries, and generates more peaceful co-existence. We urge the administration to utilize travel as a force for good."

To those of you who will be celebrating Canada Day and the Fourth of July, we wish you a great holiday! We hope to see you in Anaheim!


Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International