Destinations International, a global association dedicated to serving destination marketing organizations (DMOs), recently held its Annual Meeting in Dallas, showcasing their commitment to advancing the travel and tourism industry through education and innovative programs. As a leading authority in destination marketing, DI plays a crucial role in supporting professionals, fostering collaboration, and shaping the future of the travel sector.
Destinations International focuses on empowering destination marketing organizations by providing them with valuable tools, resources, and education. Through their extensive network of industry experts, professionals gain access to cutting-edge insights and best practices that help them better understand and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of travel and tourism.
“Our primary focus at Destinations International is to serve our members’ interests, and every action we take is geared towards aiding their endeavors in their respective communities,” states Don Welsh, DI President and CEO. “The pandemic and its aftermath underscored the significant benefits of a global membership that actively participates and cooperates. Our organization firmly believes in the impact of travel, and a robust worldwide member community empowers destination leaders to connect and acquire insights from each other, thereby enhancing the experiences of residents, workers, and travelers within their destinations.”
Education as a cornerstone
One of the cornerstones of Destinations International’s mission is education. They organize various educational programs and events, such as webinars, workshops, and conferences, where industry leaders share their knowledge and expertise. These educational opportunities cover a wide range of topics, including marketing strategies, sustainable tourism, data analytics, crisis management, and destination development.
The recent Annual Meeting in Dallas was a testament to DI’s commitment to providing high-quality education and networking opportunities. Centered around the theme of “belonging,” the conference showcased a diverse range of perspectives, inviting voices from various fields beyond the industry to contribute. The engaging opening keynote featured Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks and the NBA’s pioneering black female CEO. Additionally, Charles M. Blow, a renowned New York Times journalist and commentator, was interviewed on the main stage, sharing his perspectives on the future of travel and tourism. The event also included insights from top Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell, who shared advice on maintaining an authentic and balanced life through healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
Ample time was dedicated to discussing sustainability, with destinations like Canada and Sydney presenting their efforts. Canada introduced the Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan, aiming to enhance economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability in hosted business events. Meanwhile, Sydney talked about the Sustainable Destination Partnership, involving prominent hotels, event centres, cultural institutions, and tourism bodies, united to enhance environmental practices and establish Sydney as a premier sustainable destination.
The Pathfinders Program
The Dallas convention also provided Boardroom with the chance to delve into the DI Pathfinders programs. This group of innovative European destination professionals is dedicated to confronting crucial issues encountered by destination organizations today. Since its introduction at IMEX Frankfurt in 2022, the European Pathfinders have partnered with industry leaders and the DI team to highlight significant trends in European destinations. They aim to comprehend how industry leaders are rising to meet these challenges and seize opportunities.
Jane Cunningham, Director of European Engagement at Destinations International, explained: “The Pathfinders encompass a diverse set of forward-thinking leaders from across Europe, each holding distinct roles in their respective organizations. Since our launch in 2022, the group has been concentrating on community alignment, destination stewardship, and values-driven initiatives. Through collaborative efforts, the Pathfinders have pinpointed crucial areas where DI can provide support to destinations and contribute to a revitalized economy.”
The aim is for this group to grow over the years, and make sure DI create a value proposition for the diverse needs of European destinations. Key focus areas encompass several aspects, including the cultivation of best practices to drive excellence, fostering the progression of digital platforms to embrace modern trends, advocating for comprehensive sustainable development choices, devising tools to gauge the societal and environmental effects, and conducting industry research that underpins strategic decision-making based on data-driven insights.