100 Years of Advancing Destinations


Monday, July 25, 2016
Four Industry Leaders to be Inducted into DMAI Hall of Fame During Annual Convention in Minneapolis

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Chair Bob Lander and President and CEO Don Welsh today announced the four industry leaders whom will be inducted into the 2016 Hall of Fame on Tuesday, August 2 during DMAI’s Annual Convention in Minneapolis, MN.  

“I am so pleased with the roster for this year’s Hall of Fame awards,” said Lander.  “When we initiated the program in 2014, it was our hope that the industry would get behind it and actively nominate those they truly believe have made a difference in our industry.  The response has been incredible and I look forward to celebrating the 2016 Hall of Fame winners.”

The DMAI Hall of Fame award was created in 2014 to honor individuals who have changed the future of destination marketing for the better, made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and shaped travel marketing.  

“The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees represent the very best in thought leadership and investing in our future,” said Welsh.  “I would like to thank the Hall of Fame nominating committee led by Scott Beck for their continued commitment to this important program.  This year’s inductees are visionaries whom have established a path for the future of our industry.  I look forward to celebrating these true leaders even beyond the DMAI Annual Convention.”

2016 DMAI Hall of Fame Inductees 

Ray Bloom, Chairman and Founder, IMEX Group

The IMEX Group organizes worldwide exhibitions for the incentive travel, meetings and events industry in Europe and the U.S. Bloom has been a successful entrepreneur for many years. He started his career in the motor industry, entered into the hotel industry and ultimately the exhibition industry. 

Bloom has an established career in creating the leading trade shows in the meetings and incentive travel sector, including the annual IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in Las Vegas.  He is heavily involved in numerous industry associations. 

Brad Burlingame, Visit West Hollywood

Brad Burlingame led West Hollywood’s (WeHo) tourism bureau as President and CEO for 18 years before he passed away in 2015.  Under his leadership, Visit WeHo’s marketing programs and initiatives, including expansion into the overseas markets, helped West Hollywood become a major travel destination.  

Burlingame was incredibly successful in branding the iconic Sunset Strip; however, among his peers, he is highly regarded as a champion of California tourism. Long before other industry leaders assumed a position, he worked to gain the respect of state legislators and to ensure they had a solid understanding of the power of California’s visitor industry. 

Nicki Grossman, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Nicki Grossman retired June 1, 2016 after 21 years as President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Under Grossman’s leadership, tourist spending increased by more than $8 billion and annual visitation grew from 6.1 million in 1996 to more than 14 million, representing 15 percent of Florida’s total visitation.  

In recognition of Grossman’s numerous accomplishments, Broward College created a legacy scholarship in her name. The Nicki Englander Grossman Endowed Hospitality and Tourism Management Scholarship will be awarded annually to students who study hospitality-related fields at Broward College’s campuses.

Gary Sain, Visit Orlando

In his role as President and CEO of Visit Orlando, Gary Sain was credited with helping to put Orlando “on the map” as the world’s leading tourism destination before he passed away in 2012.  Under his leadership, Orlando welcomed a record 51.5 million visitors in 2010, the first U.S. destination to break the 50 million milestone.  Since this time, major travel destinations have implemented 50 million visitors as a benchmark.  

Sain was known for working tirelessly with leading associations, such as U.S. Travel and others to help advance important industry initiatives ranging from travel promotion and visa reform to promoting the value of meetings.

The 2016 Hall of Fame award induction will take place on Tuesday, August 2 at 5:00pm during DMAI’s Annual Convention in Minneapolis.