Destinations International and the Destinations International Foundation Announce the Spirit of Hospitality Date and Location

National Geographic Traveler to be honored with the Spirit of Hospitality Award

Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2017) – Destinations International Foundation Chair Stephanie Pace Brown, President and CEO of Explore Asheville, and Destinations International President and CEO Don Welsh today announced that the Spirit of Hospitality Celebration will be held on February 12, 2018 at National Geographic’s Washington D.C. headquarters.

National Geographic Traveler is this year’s Spirit of Hospitality Honoree, the highest recognition presented annually to individuals and organizations that show exceptional dedication and commitment to the travel and tourism industry. Backed by a powerful heritage of more than a century of exploration, global experts, and signature photography, National Geographic Traveler magazine is the gold standard of destination inspiration. With a readership of 9.6 million, National Geographic believes that travel transforms lives – and that is at the heart of the work of Destinations International and its global membership.

“National Geographic Traveler is the icon of travel inspiration,” said Brown. “We are grateful for the organization’s decades of support and partnership and look forward to honoring them during the Spirit of Hospitality celebration.”

The annual event is a showcase of excellence in the tourism industry and a celebration that brings together industry leadership to raise funds to empower destinations and the global travel industry.

The Destinations International Foundation supports the following important initiatives:

  • Education: The Destinations International Foundation invests in building knowledge by funding educational programming for destination professionals throughout the year at the Destinations International Annual Convention and discipline-based Summits and educational events. The Foundation also provides scholarship opportunities to professionals to participate in industry conferences and certification programs.

  • Research: Through industry specific research such as the “Weaponization of Travel Report” and the “Destination Next Futures Study,” the Foundation creates new knowledge and is one of the largest funders of studies to develop a better understanding of industry standards, trends and opportunities, as well as forecasting future threats.

  • Advocacy: Destination organizations face a growing need to advocate for the outcome of their efforts. The Destinations International Foundation works diligently to empower these organizations with facts, best practices and tools to mitigate current threats, and get ahead of future issues on the horizon.

  • Leadership development: Through programs like 30 Under 30 and the Apprenticeship Program, the Destinations International Foundation is developing future industry leaders that represent a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives.

“The Spirit of Hospitality is a wonderful opportunity to bring together travel colleagues and recognize superior leadership in our industry,” said Welsh. “The event raises funds that help the Destinations International Foundation ensure the continued growth of destinations worldwide.”

The event will be held on the National Geographic campus in the heart of Washington, DC. Tickets will go on sale in late November. For more information on the Destinations International Foundation or the Spirit of Hospitality, visit


Destinations International

Destinations International (formerly Destination Marketing Association International) is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. Destinations International is about serving destination marketing professionals first and foremost. Together with more than 4,700 members and partners from nearly 600 destinations in approximately 15 countries, Destinations International represents a powerful forward-thinking, collaborative association; exchanging bold ideas, connecting innovative people and elevating tourism to its highest potential. For more information, visit  

About the Destinations International Foundation

The Destinations International Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering destination marketers globally by providing education, research, advocacy and leadership development. The Foundation is classified as a charitable organization, under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and all donations to the Foundation are tax deductible. For more information visit