Biweekly Update: November 2, 2018

Greetings and happy Friday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the cities of Pittsburgh, PA and Louisville, KY after the horrible acts of violence that have impacted their communities. I am hopeful that in the weeks and months ahead that I will not start off this newsletter with our condolences and prayers to yet another community devastated by senseless acts of violence.


Today, I had the opportunity to speak at the Experience Columbus Special Sector Panel Session to address the Experience Dedicated Destination stakeholders and industry leaders. Special thanks to Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus, and his team for inviting me to speak to this talented and enthusiastic group. 

As you know, the fall season is packed with Destinations International summits and we want to thank those of you who were able to join us at the recent Membership Summit in Palm Springs, CA and the Finance, Operations and Technology Summit in Cleveland, OH.

We had a record-breaking 142 attendees at this year’s Membership Summit. Thanks to Scott White, Mark Crabb and the entire Greater Palm Springs CVB and Summit Planning Committee for all their hard work with hosting us in the beautiful city of Palm Springs. And, thanks to all our sponsors and partners who helped make the event possible: Brand USA, Simpleview, Miles Partnership and Tempest.

We had 115 attendees at this year’s Finance, Operations and Technology Summit. Special thanks to David Gilbert and Destination Cleveland, along with the Summit Planning Committee, for a very engaging and relevant event. Again, the summit would not have been possible without our event sponsors and partners: Brand USA, Simpleview, Miles Partnership and Tempest. I was thrilled to visit Cleveland after nearly 25 years since my last visit. The city has gone through a major transformative change and David Gilbert has played a big role in its development. One of my bucket list items has been to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and I had the opportunity, along with many of the attendees, to squeeze in a quick visit on Sunday before the event began.


Our next summit is the eagerly awaited Advocacy Summit that we launched last year with TTRA's Marketing Outlook Forum in Baltimore, MD. Jack Johnson and his team have been working tirelessly on the development of this year’s summit which will take place in Philadelphia, PA next week. You will see the agenda is packed with relevant and timely topics that destination organizations around the world are facing. Exciting speakers include:

  • Adam Sacks, Tourism Economics
  • Alex Wirth, CEO, Quorum Analytics Inc.
  • Michael Smerconish, Host of The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM, Host of CNN's Smerconish and Contributor, Newspaper Columnist and Best-Selling Author
  • Amir Eylon, Longwoods International
  • Greg Oates, NEXTFactor
  • Cree Lawson, Arrivalist

We have nine spots open for registration, so register now! You may click here to register.


Destination Showcase exhibit sales are now 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.

This year’s keynote speaker is Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer, Leslie Odom Jr. He has taken the entertainment world by storm across a variety of media - spanning Broadway, television, film, and music. Best known for his breakout role as 'Aaron Burr' in the smash hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, Odom Jr. received a 2015 Drama Desk Award nomination and won the Tony Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" for his performance. He also won a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording.

Early Bird pricing is available through January 7, 2019. You may click here to learn more and purchase exhibit space.


This week, Ken Lawson and his team at VISIT FLORIDA announced the relaunch of Florida Now, an interactive landing page to provide real time information from Florida destinations and encourage the continuation of bookings to the state. The landing page, now live at, is a collection of Hurricane Michael recovery updates and information including an interactive map with photos, videos, twitter feeds and webcams. In addition, the page includes a new Northwest Florida blog section that can be filtered by city to show business openings, coming soon messages, upcoming events and other destination-specific information submitted by tourism businesses to help visitors make the most informed travel decisions. You may click here learn more and read the press release.


It is hard to believe that 2018 is coming to an end. It has been a great year of progress and momentum as a result of your unwavering support of Destinations International and our industry. I am fortunate enough to be able to attend most of our summits and I continue to be so impressed with the collective knowledge in the room and the willingness to share that knowledge with your colleagues. We talk about peer-to-peer learning and we believe our summits are the most effective way for that to happen. We hope you will make plans to join us at one of these upcoming events and summits between now and the remainder of the year:

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Don Welsh signature

Don Welsh
President & CEO
Destinations International