Don Welsh headshot

Don Welsh

President and CEO & Foundation Executive Director
phone +1 202-835-4219

A seasoned tourism executive with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, Welsh serves as the President and CEO of Destinations International.

Since joining the Association in March 2016, Welsh has implemented a strategic realignment for the association through a renewed commitment to focus on member needs to deliver the resources members have determined to be essential to the success of their organizations. Leading this list of priorities – education, professional development, certification, accreditation, best practices and advocacy support followed by scalable and timely products and services.

Prior to joining Destinations International, Welsh served as the President and CEO of Choose Chicago, the official destination organization for Chicago. In this role, Welsh was responsible for marketing Chicago to business and leisure travelers throughout regional, national and international markets.  During his five years with Choose Chicago, Welsh developed and implemented initiatives that contributed to stellar results for Chicago’s visitor industry. Welsh and his team reported a record-breaking and results driven 2014, including a record of 50.2 million visitors to Chicago resulting in record tourism spending, record hotel tax revenue and jobs; 14 months of record demand for hotel rooms and 13 percent growth in hotel room night production by the Choose Chicago convention sales team.  

Welsh also held the CEO position at the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Prior to joining the destination organization industry, Welsh served as senior vice president for Westin Hotels at its corporate headquarters, and has also held senior leadership positions in sales and marketing for Westin Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas.