Destination Leaders to Collaborate at Travel Exchange

beach footprintNTA reports it will host two Destination Leaders Forums on Jan. 23, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., where chief executives of destination marketing organizations (DMO's) will discuss the challenges they have faced during a struggling global economy, its effect on packaged travel, and what solutions lie ahead. The Travel Exchange runs from Jan. 20 through 24.

“DMO budgets have been reduced—and sometimes eliminated—as governments cut back during the economic downturn,” said Lisa Simon, NTA president. “So our questions are: What strategies have organizations used—and how can we work together to ensure a robust packaged-travel industry? That’s what will result from this thought-leader discussion.”

The Destination Leaders Forums comprise two sessions at the Orange County Convention Center during Travel Exchange, the convention and trade show for NTA and the United Motorcoach Association. A morning session includes state and provincial leaders from North America, and an afternoon session brings together leaders of national tourism organizations. In both sessions, participants will uncover shared obstacles and develop workable solutions, NTA says.

Working with NTA to organize the event is Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon and chairman of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. 

“Coming together to explore, evaluate and envision where we’ve been and where we’re heading will give the industry a more complete picture to launch new strategies from," Davidson said.

Each participant will submit, prior to the forums, a description of its organization and its challenges, plus a projection for the year ahead. When they gather in Orlando, the DMO leaders will share the tactics and innovations they have used to market their destination and attract groups despite budget cuts. 

Both sessions will be moderated by Helen Marano, vice president of government and industry affairs for the World Travel and Tourism Council.NTA will release its findings in a white paper

NTA notes it issued invitations to chief executives of all U.S. states, Canadian provinces, Mexican states, and national tourism offices.