Destinations International Announces Opening of 2020 Annual Convention Registration and Keynote Speakers



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Caitlyn Blizzard
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Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, philanthropist, columnist, and sports reporter; and Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 fighter pilot, leadership and team-building expert and author announced as keynote speakers.

For high-resolution images and biographies of speakers, click here.

Social media hashtag: #AC20Chicago

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 27, 2020) – Destinations International, the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards, today announced that registration is open for the 2020 Annual Convention. The event will take place on July 13-15, 2020 in Chicago, IL, USA.

As the premier event for destination professionals, Destinations International's 2020 Annual Convention provides a unique opportunity for destination organizations to connect with and learn from peers and thought leaders from inside and outside the industry. Registration and more information can be found here.

“We are excited to bring the greatest minds in the travel and tourism industry together for this anticipated annual industry event,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Dallas and Destinations International board chair. “The event promises to provide networking and inspiration for every professional across the industry.”

The multi‐day event will bring together over 1,600 travel and tourism leaders from around the globe to learn, network and get business done; with over 50 inspiring and timely educational sessions and over 100 partners and exhibitors on the Marketplace of Ideas tradeshow floor.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, philanthropist, columnist, and sports reporter who is an inspiration around the world. His books have sold over 35 million copies and have been translated into over 40 languages. While nationally recognized for his sports writing, Albom is perhaps best known for the themes of hope and kindness that weave through his books, plays, and films. In his talks and presentations, he brings the same inspiring message of community building, giving, and purpose. His breakthrough book, Tuesdays with Morrie, became an international phenomenon with over 14 million copies sold. Now in its twentieth year, the book remains one of the top-selling memoirs of all time and was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning TV movie produced by Oprah Winfrey, starring Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria.
  • Carey Lohrenz, the first female U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot, who knows what it takes to succeed in one of the most demanding, extreme environments imaginable – the cockpit at Mach 2. The same qualities that helped her break barriers and make naval aviation history can also help you accomplish more than you ever imagined. In her Wall Street Journal best-selling book, "Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck,” she encapsulates her advice on how to supercharge performance in today’s competitive business environments. Drawing on a trail-blazing career in the U.S. Navy, Carey provides critical insight on the importance of setting a bold vision to bring teams together and staying resilient through hard times. Energizing and engaging on stage, her mission-ready strategies for leading fearlessly will help you take charge, navigate high-pressure business conditions, overcome challenges, and realize your vision.
  • The Global All-Stars Innovators Showcase, which is one of the industry’s leading platforms for sharing exciting new ideas, insights and innovation from around the world. In its ninth year at Destinations International’s Annual Convention, the 2020 Global All-Stars session will take a look forward at “Sustaining the Future.” Speakers from two European destination organizations and one global leader on in-market trends will take the stage to share insights on their work in the sustainability, climate change, destination development and in-destination experience verticals.

“Each year our Annual Convention offers networking and educational opportunities for destination organization professionals of all sizes, from around the world,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “This year’s theme is ‘Make No Little Plans,’ inspired by the words of Daniel Burnham, the American architect who was largely responsible for the rebuilding of Chicago after the fire of 1871 and whose words inspire our team and the people of Chicago every day. We look to take that theme to heart by providing many extraordinary learning experiences during our time in Chicago.”

This year, the convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, located at 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL. Attendees will be able to experience the magic of Chicago, a city unlike any other. Explore the architectural marvels, world-class museums, dynamic entertainment, and an award-winning dining scene you would expect from one of the world’s greatest cities. But Chicago is more than just another big city — the welcoming residents, inclusive neighborhoods, and Midwestern soul truly make it the city that feels like home.

“Chicago looks forward to welcoming Destinations International’s members for the 2020 Annual Convention,” said David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “It is especially opportune that Destinations International represents the brightest and best of the destination organization industry. While they are here sharing best practices and new ideas, Chicago will have an opportunity to showcase the many developments and strategies that have helped shape Chicago as a premier meetings, event and leisure travel destination and experience why Conde Nast Traveler has named Chicago the best big city to visit now 3 years in a row.”

Early Bird Registration Rates apply through April 6, 2020. Registration and more information may be found at

The 2020 Annual Convention also features the industry’s premier tradeshow floor, the Marketplace of Ideas. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with more than 100 of the latest thought leaders in technology, marketing/creative services, research and media companies today. Featuring the Evolve and Elevate stage, a unique interactive learning experience, the Marketplace of Ideas is the best resource for building close personal relationships with a wide variety of partners in the travel and tourism industry.

The 2020 Annual Convention is presented by Destinations International with the support of the Destinations International Foundation. Destinations International is grateful for the support of our Pinnacle Partners: Brand USA, Miles Partnership and Simpleview; our Premier Partners: Arrivalist, Fired Up! Culture, IMEX Group, Longwoods International, MMGY Global, STR, Tempest and TripAdvisor; and our event sponsors to date: Adara, Arrivalist, ASAE, Barkley, Brand USA, Carvertise, Casual Astronaut, CFO By Design, Choose Chicago, Civitas, Connect Meetings, Cvent, Destination Analysts, Digital Edge, Expedia Group Media Solutions, HelmsBriscoe, HootBoard, Hyatt Regency Chicago, IAEE, IMEX GROUP, JLL, Longwoods International, Madden Media, Mile Marker 630, Miles Partnership, MMGY Global, MMGY HillsBalfour, MPI, MMGY NextFactor, NorthStar Meetings Group, Omniexperience, Pandora Media, PCMA, SearchWide Global, Simpleview, Sojern, STR and Trip Advisor.

For information on exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities, please click here. For more information on Destinations International or the 2020 Annual Convention, visit  


About Destinations International:
Destinations 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 almost 6,000 members and partners from nearly 600 destinations in 13 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