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Destinations International Announces 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees and Destination Organization Leadership Award Recipients

Annual awards program recognizes outstanding leadership in the travel and tourism industry

Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2024) – Destinations International (DI), the world’s largest membership association for destination organizations and convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), today announced the recipients of its annual awards program, including the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees, the Spirit of Hospitality Award, Destination Organization Leadership Awards, and Destination Organization Leadership Award for Global Impact. Honorees will be celebrated at the Recognition Celebration session during the 2024 Destinations International Annual Convention in Tampa, FL

“We are honored to recognize these truly outstanding leaders in our industry, along with the contributions they have made to their destinations and the industry overall,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International. “In today’s fast-changing world, leadership, vision and commitment are more essential than ever. Each of these individuals has made a significant impact on the advancement and growth of the travel and tourism industry, benefiting us all. Thank you to the Destinations International Awards Committee for their hard work and dedication in naming this year’s recipients.”  

“On behalf of the DI Awards Committee, we are thrilled to congratulate this year’s awardees for their extraordinary achievements, reflected in this well-deserved recognition,” said committee cochairs Melvin Tennant, CAE, President & CEO, Meet Minneapolis, and Maura Allen Gast, FCDME, Executive Director, Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The quality and diversity of nominations the committee received this year made these decisions extremely difficult. We also were inspired to see the incredible work our colleagues are doing every single day. As co-chairs for the last three years, we have grown through this experience, and we owe tremendous gratitude to our fellow committee members for their time and dedication.” 

Destinations International Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame was launched in 2014 during Destinations International’s 100th Anniversary to recognize individuals who have changed the future of destination marketing and management for the better. These individuals have made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and shaped travel marketing and management. This year’s honorees are:  

Industry Contributor: 

Ted Levine
Founder & Former Chairman
Development Counsellors International (DCI)  

Modern Era:  

Dale Lockett
Former President & CEO
Visit Bastrop and Visit Albuquerque  

Dan Lincoln, CTA
Former President & CEO
Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Karen Williams
Former President & CEO
Louisville Tourism 

William “Bill” Talbert, CDME
Former President & CEO
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau 

DI Foundation Spirit of Hospitality Award 

The Spirit of Hospitality Award is the highest recognition presented annually to individuals and organizations that demonstrate exceptional dedication and commitment to the travel and tourism industry. This year’s awardee is: 

Adam Sacks
Founder & President
Tourism Economics 

Destination Organization Leadership Award

The Destination Organization Leadership Award was created in 2017 and is among the association's most prestigious honors, recognizing those outstanding individuals who, through their exceptional work and achievements, have made a significant impact on the destination organization industry as well as a profound difference in the communities they serve. This year’s awardees are: 

Organizations with Operating Budgets less than $1M:

Mary Hammond, CDME
Former Executive Director
Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Organizations with Operating Budgets of $1-3M:   

Wes Rhea, CDME
Visit Stockton  

Organizations with Operating Budgets of $3-10M:   

Lisa Bethea
Director of Destination Services
Visit Frisco  

Organizations with Operating Budgets of $10M and Above:   

Leonard Hoops
President & CEO
Visit Indy 

Destination Organization Award for Global Impact 

The Destination Organization Award for Global Impact was created in 2023 to recognize specifically those outstanding destination organizations that have made a significant impact on the global destination industry through exceptional service and innovation in their location or national communities. This year’s recipient is:  

Business Events Sydney, Sydney Australia

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About Destinations International 

Destinations International is the world’s largest and most trusted resource for destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and tourism boards. With more than 9,500 members and partners from over 750 destinations, the association represents a powerful forward-thinking and collaborative community around the world. For more information, visit