The Destinations Council represents more than 350 U.S. Travel Association destination marketing organization (DMO) and convention and visitors bureau (CVB) members, whose purpose is to enhance the effectiveness of DMO professionals through the annual program of work created by the Destinations Council’s Board of Advisors.

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The Destinations Council connects DMOs and CVBs and serves as champions who support and assist U.S. Travel in its national grassroots advocacy efforts. Educating, advocating for and engaging members is the primary purpose for the council and the board of advisors meet several times throughout the year to drive the council’s initiatives. 

As a U.S. Travel member, any destination marketing organization can participate in the Destinations Council community and reap the benefits.

Educate by:

  • Exchanging best practices and learning from peers at ESTO, the nation’s leading educational and networking event for destination marketing professionals, by attending the Destinations Council’s annual meeting and peer open forum sessions to share best practices.
  • Participating in valuable free ESTO webinars all year-long, sharing the latest in destination marketing and research.
  • Holding a rally or event during National Travel and Tourism Week, the annual salute to travel and tourism in America.
  • Attending IPW, the industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S., and learning from associates at the IPW marketing session.
  • Creating a one-of-a-kind mentorship program, the Emerging Leaders Program, aimed at providing developing professionals enhanced opportunities to grow leadership skills and advance their careers in the travel industry.
     

Advocate by:

  • Representing the Destinations Council at all U.S. Travel board meetings.
  • Leveraging the collective strength of the industry to influence policy on travel-related issues at Destination Capitol Hill, the U.S. travel industry’s notable legislative fly-in.
  • Amplifying the voice of destinations in Washington, D.C. by joining in U.S. Travel’s efforts to reform travel policies.
  • Utilizing member tools like the new Travel Economic Impact Calculator for the City Level (U.S. Travel login required) which shows the direct impact of changes in traveler spending on a destination's economy, and the COVID-19 Resources for DMOs, helping DMOs sift through U.S. Travel's available member resources to determine what is most relevant to them.

 

Engage by:

  • Receiving the quarterly Destinations Brief newsletter, which provides pertinent industry news and updates, and periodic Letters from the Destinations Council Chair.
  • Gaining access to authoritative industry research on the latest travel trends and forecasts that affect marketing decisions.
  • Participating in the annual Destiny Awards, which showcases creative accomplishments in tourism marketing and promotion.
Board of Advisors

Chair
Patrick Kaler
President and CEO, Visit Buffalo Niagara

Vice Chair
Susie Santo
President and CEO, Visit Wichita

Second Vice Chair
Paul Bencivengo
Vice President, Visit Bucks County

Members
Kevin Bagger
Executive Director of the Research Center, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Gathan Borden
Vice President of Marketing, Visit Lexington
Lynn Bruni-Perkins
Vice President, Marketing Communications, San Francisco Travel Association
Kimberly Forest
Senior Vice President, Visitor Marketing, Visit Mesa
Chris Gahl
Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Visit Indy
Jo Ann Haden-Miller
Director, Partner Activation and Engagement, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau
Jeremy Harvey
Vice President, Communications & Marketing, Visit Savannah
Steve Hayes
President & CEO, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Kari Kauffman
Director, Tourism, Experience Columbus
Robin McClain
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Destination DC
Wendy K. Northcross, CCE
CEO, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Courtney Ries
Vice President, Destination Branding & Strategy, Meet Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Assoc.
Paige Shepherd
Director of Tourism, The Chickasaw Nation
Eric Thompson
Vice President of Marketing, Visit Salt Lake