100 Years of Advancing Destinations

DMAI celebrates 100 years of advancing destinations during annual convention 2014 in Las Vegas

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
All Star Line Up led by Erik Wahl, Bryan Smith and Cirque de Soleil

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the organization’s 2014 Annual Convention, July 21-23 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

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 600+ destination marketing organizations (DMOs) from 16 countries, commanding US $2.5+ billion in annual budgets.   

During Annual Convention 2014, DMAI marks 100 years, by “Celebrating the Journey, Advancing Destinations”. This history 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. During Annual Convention 2014, DMAI will deliver some of the most advanced research and insights ever shared in its 100 year history. There has never been a more exciting time for DMOs and the DMAI community.” 

With 40+ education sessions at the event, learning supports the challenges and opportunities facing today's destination marketing professionals. Prominent keynote speakers will share their expertise and challenge the way traditional DMOs think.

Bryan Smith, Filmmaker, Reel Water Productions

  • Leading filmmaker, recipient of the prized Banff and Telluride Mountain Film Festival awards
  • Producer of grassroots web series projects and broadcast television programs travel adventure
  • Extraordinary reputation for stunning cinematography and authentic storytelling for consumer-facing clients such as National Geographic, Discovery, Disney, Red Bull, and Patagonia

Erik Wahl, Graffiti Artist

  • Internationally recognized graffiti artist, author and entrepreneur
  • Nicknamed the Warhol of Wall Street, the Renoir of ROI and the Picasso of Productivity
  • Creator of on-stage paintings as a visual metaphors encouraging organization’s profitability through innovation and superior performance, for companies like AT&T, Disney, London School of Business, Microsoft, FedEx, Exxon Mobil and Ernst & Young

Welby Altidore, Director of Creation, Cirque de Soleil 

  • Passionate about making people’s genius resonate as strongly and as meaningfully as possible, believes that creative courage is a metaphoric muscle that everyone can train to improve our world
  • Joined Cirque du Soleil’s Casting team in the late 1990s, as a Talent Scout where he traveled the world, having a hand in recruiting hundreds of artists for various Cirque du Soleil shows and projects
  • Director of Creation for the latest Las Vegas hit show, Michael Jackson ONE (residing permanently in Las Vegas)

In DMAI’s commitment to advance DMO professionals, there is terrific enthusiasm about the future of the industry.  During AC’14, DMAI demonstrates its dedication to leaving the future in good hand through its newly enhanced 30 Under 30 program.  

In its fourth year, this program focuses on identifying and developing the talent of destination marketing professionals, 30 years of age and under, through increased access and exposure to industry networking and thought leadership. A year-round program, the 30 under 30 Class will convene for the first time at DMAI’s Annual Convention held July 21-23 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Throughout the year, participants will engage in a variety of professional development and volunteer activities for sustained industry engagement.


Jim McCaul, jmccaul@destinationmarketing.org, 202.835.4205

2014 DMAI Annual Convention
July 21-23, 2014
Aria Resort & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada