Destinations International Unveils Keynote Speakers for the 2018 Annual Convention

June 27, 2018

Destinations International Chair Tammy Blount-Canavan, FCDME and President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau and President and CEO Don Welsh present the keynote speakers for the 2018 Annual Convention, which takes place July 10-13 in Anaheim.

As the premier event for destination marketing and management professionals, Destinations International’s 2018 Annual Convention promises to educate and inspire while providing the unique opportunity to connect with and learn from peers and thought leaders from across the industry. Registration and more information can be found here. 

The multi‐day event will bring together over 1,500 travel and tourism leaders from around the globe to learn from over 50 inspiring sessions – including disciplined-focused tracks for all budget sizes – led by the best minds in the industry.

“We are excited to welcome the world’s greatest influencers of tourism, travel and community development to Anaheim for our 2018 Annual Convention,” Blount-Canavan said.

She added, “The topics, speakers and opportunities to connect with experts and peers will be unprecedented – this is a must-attend event for our industry.”

Here are the keynote speakers:

  • Abby Wambach: Abby Wambach is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history with 184 career goals. Her ability to wear down defenses with her physical play, aerial game and hard running has long been a key to the USA's success. After winning the Women's World Cup in 2015, Wambach retired as one of the most dominant players in the history of women's soccer. A true leader on and off the field, Wambach is dedicating the next chapter of her career to fighting for equality and inclusion across industries.
  • Global All-Stars: World Leading Insights, Inspiration and Ideas: Presented by Miles Partnership, Global All Stars brings together three exciting speakers and three critical trends which are reshaping destinations and travel. Learn how Airbnb creates, curates and surfaces remarkable stories about destinations across the globe; a world-leading urban architect gives examples of cities and places that are transforming their public spaces to benefit visitors, locals, businesses and more; witness a live demo of AI with practical examples of how it is transforming travel today. Don't miss this essential panel with remarkable insights, inspiration and ideas for your destination. 

The Global All-Stars include: Cassidy Blackwell, Director of Strategic Partnerships of Airbnb; Alan Boniface, Partner of Dialog Design & Architects; and Bryan Healey, Director of Artificial Intelligence with Lola Travel.

  • Caroline Beteta of Visit California and Tyler Florence: More than 500 people gathered in a scenic vineyard along the Napa-Sonoma County line to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together and raise funds for wildfire relief. First responders, chefs, winemakers, tourism officials and many others gave time, energy and money to help those impacted by the October blazes. Join Tyler Florence and Caroline Beteta to hear how CVBs came together to inspire their communities and help them recover.
  • Brand USA Keynote Session featuring Shaun MacGillivray: Storytelling is the foundation of powerful, captivating and inspiring marketing. Join Chris Thompson of Brand USA for an engaging discussion about the compelling nature of storytelling and exciting live entertainment. This discussion will feature Shaun MacGillivray, President and Producer of MacGillivray Freeman Films, who worked with Brand USA to create the global successes National Parks Adventure and America’s Musical Journey, and Calma Carmona, singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico, who is featured in Brand USA’s “Hear the Music, Experience the USA.” campaign. 
  • Marketing in Time of Crisis: Dealing with the Unimaginable: Cathy Tull from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Brad Dean from the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization will share their first-hand experiences with the unimaginable through their inspiring stories of recovery and community.

·       Cathy Tull, Chief Marketing Officer of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: Since joining Las Vegas CVA in 2005, Cathy Tull has held many roles including strategic planning and marketing. As a 22-year resident of Las Vegas, she has won numerous industry awards including Skift's Top 50 Travel Marketers and Outstanding Woman in Travel Industry Leadership. Tull is active in many industry organizations, serving as a member of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and a staff liaison for the U.S. Travel Association.

·       Brad Dean, CEO of Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization: Brad Dean is the newly-arrived CEO of the Puerto Rico DMO after having served as President and CEO of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. He is a huge advocate for the tourism industry, serving on the Global Leadership Committee for Destinations International, the U.S. Travel Association executive committee, as well as chair of U.S. Travel's Project: Time Off Coalition. Dean is also the recipient of the 2018 Fred P. Brinkman Award, which is presented to individuals that make exemplary leadership contributions to the travel and tourism industry in the state of South Carolina.

"As with all of our Annual Conventions, we strive to provide our members with insightful and inspiring speakers, the latest trends and research and the opportunity for valuable peer-to-peer networking," Welsh said.

He added, "We are especially excited about this year's program taking place in Anaheim and look forward to showcasing the creative and memorable destination to industry leaders from around the globe."

Registration and more information about the 2018 Annual Convention may be found at

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