Biweekly Update: November 16, 2018

Greetings and happy Friday.

Ryan George, CEO of Simpleview, J. Felipe Garcia, Executive Vice President of Visit Tucson and I just returned from Mexico City, where we had the pleasure of meeting with Mexico’s incoming Minister of Tourism, The Honorable Miguel Torruco Marques. We are excited for next steps in our continued development of education, tools and engagement in Mexico.

We are wrapping up our CDME Courses in Seattle this week. Those on their way to receiving their CDME credential had the opportunity to advance their careers this week through courses taught by our industry leaders.

We also held our CDME Summit this week for destination organization professionals to continue to advance their careers through CDME reaccreditation sessions. Special thanks for Maura Gast, FCDME, Executive Director of the Irving CVB, for her support of our CDME Summit and to Mark Crabb, FCDME, Chief Sales Officer of the Greater Palm Springs CVB, for teaching our PDM Fundamentals of Sales course.

CDME faculty included: Craig Davis, CDME, President and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH; Kathleen Frankford, CDME, President of Discover Lancaster; Deb Archer, CDME, President/CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau; John Groh, CDME, President/CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Jennifer Johnson, CDME, Vice President, Operations at Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Chris Ihrig, Chief Engagement Officer with Fired-Up! Culture; Mary German, CDME, Chief Operating Officer with the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Renee Areng, CEO of HMA Hospitality Consultants.

More information about CDME, including upcoming courses being offered, may be found here.


Last week, we held our 2nd annual Advocacy Summit in Philadelphia, PA, which had 140 attendees. We heard from many industry leaders on relevant and timely topics that destinations around the world are facing. Thanks to the many speakers who shared their experiences and thoughts on a wide range of topics.

Special thanks to Annette Rummel, CEO at Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, who instructed destination organization professionals to reprioritize “quality of place” over quality of life when working with economic development partners. Annette demonstrated how quality of life followed quality of place in Saginaw, Michigan.

Jack Johnson, our Chief Advocacy Officer, echoed those sentiments in his presentation of the New Tourism Lexicon. Though destination organization professionals have a great story to tell regarding our ROI, Jack noted that numbers don’t express the entire story. Instead, he insisted that we must explain how destination organizations advance the “public good” with an emotional, values-based narrative. Lastly, Michael Smerconish, political commentator and 2018 Advocacy Summit keynote speaker, reminded attendees that stories of humanity and life resonate the most in destination promotion. Special thanks to Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Jeff Guaracino, President and CEO of Visit Philly for hosting us.

Our Fall summit season continues to engage and connect our destinations with many of our leading partners. A special thanks to our partners who have sponsored our fall summits and helped make them possible: ADARA, Arrivalist, Brand USA, Civitas, Destination Analysts, Digital Edge, Longwoods International, Miles Partnership, Northstar Meetings Group, Omni Experience, Simpleview and Tempest. 


Elaine Rosquist, CMP, Senior Director of Product Engagement and Alyssa Poulin, Product Engagement Manager, attended the NASC 4S Summit in Cleveland on October 24 and 25 to announce the Partnership between Destinations International and NASC to provide the Event Impact Calculator (EIC) Sports Module to Sports Commissions. In addition, they presented an education session with Geoff Lacher, Senior Economist, Tourism Economics; Kindra Fry, CSEE, SMP, President/CEO, EXPERIENCE BRYAN COLLEGE STATION and Gen Howard CSEE, Senior Sales Manager, Louisville Tourism on Calculating the Value of Sporting Events to your Destination.

This week, Ali Best had the opportunity, along with Maura Gast, FCDME, President and CEO of the Irving CVB and Cassandra Matej, President and CEO of the San Antonio CVB, to speak at the TACVB Leadership Symposium.  

On the global front, Nina Winston and Tammy Blount-Canavan, FCDME, President and CEO of the Monterey County CVB, just returned from World Travel Market in London, where our Global Leadership Committee met. While there, we had the chance to catch up with many of our members and key global partners, including European Cities Marketing and the World Travel & Tourism Council. A special congratulations to Tammy, whose team of industry leaders won MMGY Global’s Tourism Cup Debates! 


This week’s Small Destination Organization webinar had almost 100 members registered. Our friends from SearchWide Global shared what trends, challenges and opportunities look like in the work place for small organizations. Upcoming monthly webinar dates and past webinar recordings are available on our website here.


Destination Showcase exhibit sales are open. This dynamic one-day event offers Destinations International members the opportunity to connect with the nation's top planners in one location. Last year’s show had over 1,000 meeting planners attend to connect with CVBs and learn how they are the key to making meetings and events successful.


Sadly, once again California is grappling with deadly wildfires threatening populated areas in Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated. Conditions in California’s wildfire-affected communities continue to change rapidly. Visit California is connecting travelers with the latest fire information through travel alerts and the website. In the meantime, our thoughts remain with those affected by these tragedies and the first responders working to protect these communities. For those who would like to donate or volunteer their time helping victims, please click here for more information.  


Congratulations to Martha Sheridan, a former Board Chair, who has been appointed as the President & CEO of the Greater Boston CVB. We look forward to working with Martha when she begins her new role on Feb. 15, 2019.

U.S. Travel convened its fall 2018 Board of Directors meeting this week. The board dinner Tuesday night honored U.S. Travel's new Hall of Leaders inductees: Todd Davidson, president and CEO of Travel Oregon, and Spurgeon Richardson, the former longtime president of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews was also honored with a distinguished leadership award in recognition of her contributions to travel and tourism, promotion of sustainability, and support of diversity and inclusion in the industry.

For those who are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday next week, we hope you enjoy your time off with friends and family.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International