News

Jan 27, 2022
Following a pause in plans due to the pandemic, the Fort Worth City Council recently approved $52 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the first phase of a planned expansion of the city-owned Forth Worth Convention Center (FWCC). The downtown facility’s $500 million expansion, which had been in the planning stages for several years to attract and accommodate larger trade shows and meetings, was about to begin with robust funding from hotel occupancy taxes when the COVID-19 shutdown began in 2020, according to city officials. “We had our first meeting with the… more
Jan 26, 2022
In February of last year, 28-year travel and tourism industry veteran Casandra Matej took the helm at Visit Orlando as the first female president and CEO in the destination marketing organization’s 37-year history. While assuming a leadership role during a global pandemic is no walk in the park, Matej accepted the challenge, focusing the organization’s energies on spurring the recovery of the powerful Orlando tourism industry, which, pre-pandemic, drew more than 75 million visitors to the region and supports approximately 41% of the local workforce. For Matej and her teams, failure was not an… more
Jan 24, 2022
Chef Jeff Leidy is one of those lucky people who found his calling at a very young age. The consummate hospitality culinary professional began his four-decade-long career at 16, starting as a busboy in a steak and seafood house, where he quickly moved into the kitchen and fell in love with the culinary arts.  “I have been cooking professionally ever since,” Leidy said. “I like to tell people that you don’t choose to be a chef, it chooses you. I was captivated by every aspect of being a chef—having the chance to be creative and serve guests who give you immediate feedback, and the ability to… more
Jan 21, 2022
While it may have been tempting to sit out an in-person show at the start of this year due to concerns about the Omicron variant, attendees and exhibitors of Convening Leaders 2022 (CL22) stayed the course, just as Sherrif Karamat, president and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), urged in a statement the week before the event. “Our industry and our businesses can and will move forward,” he said. “How this happens, it is up to us—all of us. Our audiences need us more than ever. This is our time.” With open arms, Karamat welcomed roughly 2,500 eager face-to-face… more
Jan 20, 2022
Forty-two newly certified meeting professionals recently joined the ever-growing roster of event professionals who have earned the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. “The Events Industry Council is proud to celebrate the latest class of Certified Meeting Professionals and welcomes them to our global community,” said EIC CEO Amy Calvert. “Your dedication to excellence and continued learning is a testament to the strength and resilience of the global business events industry.” View the full list of December 2021 graduates here. Recognized… more
Jan 19, 2022
In a bold show of solidarity, more than 600 leaders from the U.S. tourism and events industry united with the U.S. Travel Association to sign a letter to congressional leadership urging swift enactment of federal policies to spur demand for business and international travel and help stabilize the broader travel economy. Supporters included representatives from destinations, venues and industry organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the travel industry, providing additional federal relief and stabilizing… more
Jan 17, 2022
Hybrid events are relatively new to the industry, and most organizations are still testing its possibilities. Determining what and how to sell sponsorships for hybrid events is also open for discussion.  Looking to kickstart your sponsorship efforts for hybrid events? Here are some tips on how you can find and secure hybrid event sponsorships like a pro.  Understand sponsor requirements Engage in a conversation with sponsors about their objectives and capabilities for the event. Many sponsors don’t have the human resources or time for elaborate sponsorship activations. While others want to… more
Jan 17, 2022
The new year has kicked off with a bang as event-related organizations continue their hiring and promoting frenzy, filling new roles and rewarding top-performing staff with more senior titles. Take a look! Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp As part of its recent leadership restructure, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC) has made several senior level promotions and added a new marketing lead to its team. Deana Ivey has been elevated to president of the organization, while Butch Spyridon retains the title of CEO. Ivey, who has been with the organization since 1997,… more
Jan 14, 2022
If you asked Tony Salah what he was most passionate about when he started his career, business and technology would have topped the list, considering his degree in electrical engineering along with an MBA from Harvard. Fast forward several years when a family health issue arose, and he suddenly became laser-focused on the inefficiencies within the healthcare system and wellness as tool to prevent illness. “It became deeply meaningful to me and ignited my passion to combine my technology and business background with the health and wellness space,” Salah said. “I saw so much need and so many… more
Jan 13, 2022
If anyone knows a thing or two about navigating through disruptive times, it’s Brad Dean. In 2018, he was tapped to helm Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s first-ever destination marketing organization, following a series of natural and public health disasters, including Zika virus and hurricanes Irma and Maria.  Coming onboard the year after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island—along with its tourism industry—Dean quickly assembled a stellar team of more than 50 people at Discover Puerto Rico, leading them in a remarkable period of recovery and growth that boosted tourism 45% in the first 18… more