100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Destination Marketers Celebrate 100-Year Industry with Focus on the Future


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) marks its centennial milestone at the organization’s 2014 Annual Convention, July 21-23 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada by celebrating the journey of 100 years of destination marketing and setting the direction for the industry's future.

In 1895, a group of Detroit’s hoteliers put Milton Carmichael, the Detroit Journal’s “hotel beat” reporter, on the road to sell the city as a convention site. In less than 20 years, there were enough convention secretaries promoting their cities to form the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (IACVB) in 1914. Now called DMAI, the organization has over 600 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) from 16 countries, commanding more than US $2.5 billion in annual budgets.

The convention's theme “Celebrating the Journey, Advancing Destinations” qualifies destination marketing as a mature industry, with a rich history and a legacy to celebrate. Like all mature industries, however, there are areas of concern and destination marketing must evolve in this rapidly changing global marketplace.

“Here at DMAI, we have long realized destination marketing as a serious engine to drive job creation and economic growth through travel and tourism,” said Michael Gehrisch, President & CEO of DMAI. “We equally realize the challenging environment for destination marketing executives, and are committed to improving the effectiveness of these organizations and ensuring their success.”

DMAI honors the past with the newly minted Hall of Fame recognizing leaders of the DMO community over the last 100 years. They are the men and women who led the industry through both peaks and valleys, ultimately paving the way for not only social and economic advancements to communities all over the world, but also inspiring the world to move and travel.

The event follows through by diving into the next 100 years of destination marketing. The event recognizes not only “Thirty Under Thirty” rising stars and future industry leaders under 30 years of age, but also the organizations and professionals that achieved the industry's foremost accreditation and certification status for destination marketing and management excellence.

The future that DMOs face is a rapidly changing one, fraught with exciting opportunities for destination marketers, as identied in DMAI's landmark study “Destination Next,” which lays out a flexible, but strategic roadmap for the next generation of global destination marketing. So with 35 education sessions and over 20 peer-to-peer learning and networking discussions, DMO professionals are pushing the boundaries on creativity and arming themselves with new practices and solutions to meet the ever-changing landscape of travel. A pilot Media Influencers Rally bringing in 40 notable travel influencers face to face with destination marketers also brings this fast-growing channel to the forefront. Prominent keynote speakers like Erik Wahl, Graffiti Artist inspiring an alternate view to business; Welby Altidore, Director of Creation with Cirque du Soleil; and Soren Kaplan, author of the highly acclaimed book Leapfrogging, share their expertise and experiences, challenging the way DMOs traditionally think.

“Through Annual Convention 2014, DMAI is delivering some of the most advanced research and insights ever shared in its 100 year history, and opening up new opportunities for DMOs to continue nurturing their business and their communities,” said Gehrisch. “Ultimately, there has never been a more exciting time for DMOs and the DMAI community.”