July 23, 2010
Dear City Leaders and Hospitality Industry Members,
Today an exciting and unprecedented event has occurred for New Orleans' hospitality industry. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), was inducted as the Chairman of the Board for Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the international governing body of convention and visitor bureaus. Through Mr. Perry's service as DMAI chairman, and his leadership positions with the United States Travel Association and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, the New Orleans brand will be placed front and center in American tourism.
During his year as DMAI chairman, Stephen will not only have an opportunity to shape national travel policy, but to advance the cause of New Orleans, its assets, its attractiveness and value as a destination and as a center of best practices, and will afford him routine contact with some of the Crescent City's most important customers and partners. Placing the New Orleans CVB at the forefront of industry best practices, Stephen will serve as an expert voice with the media, policy-makers and DMAI's 3,000 destination marketing organization (DMO) professionals, students, educators, and industry vendors and partners in over 30 countries.
Earlier this year, Stephen became one of only two urban destination CEOs in the country selected by the Obama Administration to serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and advise U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Locke and the President of the United States on all key matters relating to national travel and tourism policy. The nomination is a tremendous honor for New Orleans' hospitality industry, as Stephen is one of 29 hospitality industry CEOs appointed to serve on this board.
Stephen also continues to serve as an Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $770 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States, which puts New Orleans at the forefront of national travel and business policy and best practices.
New Orleans has never before had this kind of representation at the top of all major national tourism and travel organizations. We are extremely proud of Stephen for successfully leading the revival of tourism in its most difficult time during Katrina and a national recession and now representing our destination on the international scene. His volunteer service on these three prominent boards will bring tremendous value to New Orleans' tourism industry, now and in the future.
Michael D. Gehrisch, President and CEO of Washington D.C.-based DMAI, said, "Stephen has proven himself as a true leader within our industry and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming year. A long-time supporter and volunteer DMAI leader, Stephen's creativity, energy and thorough understanding of today's variable environment will be instrumental in guiding the industry and our association forward." Dedicated to improving the effectiveness of professionals from nearly over 600 destination marketing organizations worldwide through cutting-edge educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing benefits DMAI (http://www.destinationmarketing.org/) has worked to enhance the professionalism, effectiveness and image of destination marketing organizations since 1914.
In a DMAI press release issued to industry media today, Stephen said, "The ultimate honor for any CVB President in America is to be able to serve his peers and his profession as Chairman of the Board of DMAI. This is a time of remarkable change in the business environment, our funding, in our profession, and in government. Never has the role DMAI plays been so crucial in the national tourism landscape and it is a true privilege to be part of the DMAI team at this challenging time."
Stephen has served as a member of DMAI since 2002, a member of its Board of Directors since summer 2005, and in 2008 was unanimously nominated to become a member of its Executive Committee. After serving as Secretary-Treasurer and Chairman-elect, he takes over as Chairman of the Board today at DMAI's annual meeting today in Ft. Lauderdale. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Under Stephen's leadership since 2002, the New Orleans CVB has routinely been ranked as one of the top five CVBs in the country and won multiple national awards for excellence in sales, marketing, public relations, branding, customer service and corporate relations. The CVB drives the city's $5 billion tourism industry which employs nearly 70,000 New Orleanians. In December 2009, the New Orleans CVB became one of only 115 destination marketing organizations in the world to receive accreditation from DMAI's Destination Marketing Accreditation Program for attaining excellence and meeting rigorous industry standards for brand management, governance, stakeholder relationships, innovation and more.
Please join me in congratulating Stephen on this tremendous honor, and thanking him for his service, which will advance New Orleans' tourism industry and primary economic engine for decades to come.
Managing Partner of Dickie Brennan and Company
Chairman of the New Orleans CVB