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Gretchen Hall
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Destinations International Announces First Global Leaders Forum in Dublin, Ireland

Washington, D.C., USA (May 15, 2024) – Destinations International (DI), the world's leading resource for destination organizations and convention bureaus, is excited to announce the inaugural DI Global Leaders Forum, set to convene in Dublin, Ireland, from February 11-13, 2025. This landmark event marks the first time DI will be hosting a global gathering outside of North America, signifying a new era of global engagement and leadership within the destination organization and convention bureau industry. A few of the keynote speakers include Greg Clark, CBE, FAcSS, a renowned urbanist and advisor on city development, and Adrian Cooper, CEO of Oxford Economics, a leader in global economic forecasting and analysis.

Greg Clark will discuss the complex challenges facing destination leaders today, including the climate emergency, geopolitical shifts, and evolving global economic centers. His insights will highlight the need for innovative place leadership and strategies to navigate these turbulent times.

Adrian Cooper will bring his extensive experience in economic policy and forecasting to the forum, providing an in-depth analysis of global economic trends and their impact on the destination industry. His background with Oxford Economics and prior work with HM Treasury, England, positions him uniquely to address the economic implications of recent global developments and their impact on destination marketing and management.

Dublin, renowned for its vibrant culture and economic vitality, offers a dynamic backdrop for the forum. The city's rich history combined with its modern, business-friendly environment makes it an ideal location to discuss the evolving landscapes of the global visitor economy and the destination organization and convention bureau industry. This invitation-only event will provide a unique platform for peer-to-peer engagement among industry leaders, fostering extensive networking opportunities and reinforcing the value of the DI global community.

Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International, stated, “As we face rapid technological advancement and shifting economic climates, it is crucial to bring together the brightest minds in our industry to navigate these complexities. This forum will serve as a pivotal gathering, offering unparalleled insights from some of the world's leading thinkers. It will create opportunities to share insights, drive our industry forward, and showcase the strength of our global network.” He added, “Dublin is the perfect location to host our inaugural global forum. Its vibrant blend of tradition and innovation, along with its role as a global connector, exemplifies the spirit of this event. We are particularly grateful for the work Fáilte Ireland has done in providing global thought leadership on sustainable destination development, which aligns closely with our forum's goals. We appreciate our longstanding partnership with Paul Kelly and his team, who have been instrumental members of our DI community.”

Paul Kelly, Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland, expressed enthusiasm about hosting the forum, "Fáilte Ireland is honored to welcome the world’s destination leaders to Dublin. We are excited to showcase Irish hospitality and contribute to these important global discussions. This forum will highlight Ireland’s role as a key player on the international stage and reinforce the importance of collaborative, worldwide engagement in tourism."

The selection of Dublin as the host city also celebrates the growth of DI's European Pathfinders Programme, which consists of forward-looking European destination leaders. This group has been pivotal in identifying key issues and opportunities for destination organizations and convention bureaus across Europe. Their work has significantly contributed to the decision to host our first global forum outside of North America, underscoring the importance of global collaboration and leadership in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

“Through the Pathfinder programme we have developed a valuable cross Atlantic platform for knowledge sharing. Holding this global leader’s forum in Europe in 2025 demonstrates our commitment to the region and beyond. We are creating meaningful connections and conversations that matter,” stated Jane Cunningham, Director of European Engagement at Destinations International.

The DI Global Leaders Forum aims to increase brand awareness for Destinations International and position the organization as the leading convener for the destination organization and CVB industry globally.


About Destinations International:

Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors’ bureaus (CVBs), and tourism boards. With a global network of over 7,500 members from nearly 750 destinations in approximately 30 countries and territories, Destinations International is a powerful advocate for the success of destination marketing organizations and the professionals who lead them. The organization provides its members with cutting-edge educational resources, networking opportunities, and insights into industry trends and best practices. For more information, visit

About The Author

Gretchen Hall

Chief Operating Officer
Destinations International

With over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, Gretchen has a proven track record of strong leadership, sustainable growth, innovative strategy and delivering results. She is a respected leader holding positions on various travel industry association boards and committees. Prior to joining Destinations International, Gretchen worked at the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) and in the sports industry; developing and managing youth basketball tournaments across the US.

During her tenure at LRCVB, Gretchen provided leadership with several signature developments including the Grand Opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, the 50th Anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School which including the opening of a new National Parks museum and managing the $70 million renovation and expansion of Robinson Performance Hall and Conference Center. As Chief Operating Officer, Gretchen is responsible for the strategic development, implementation, communication and retention of global membership and partner initiatives for Destinations International.

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