Tourism Academy 2019 Highlights

See some of the top highlights from #TourismAcademy19.

Thank you again to all the delegates, speakers, sponsors and partners who made Tourism Academy 2019 a success. Save the date for next year's event May 12th-14th, 2020 in Philadelphia, PA. Here are some of the top highlights and photos from 2019:

Opening Reception at PNC Park

Tuesday evening's opening reception at PNC Park was a big "hit." The weather was gorgeous, the skyline views were grammable, and we even watched some of the game too! Here's a great stadium shot taken by our friends at Discover Schenectady.

Jack Johnson's Keynote

Destination marketers face a range of challenges when it comes to communicating the value of their work. Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer with Destinations International (DI) walked through an innovative vision for DMOs to evolve into "shared community values." He outlined how DMOs can become true community assets to maximize the social and economic benefits of tourism within their communities

jack johnson destinations intl

Jack Johnson on Becoming a Shared Community Value.

DMO Advocacy Panel Discussion

Echoing the sentiments from Jack Johnson's keynote, we heard from three different destinations about the unique social and political issues impacting their work. Moderated by Jenny Rose, this panel featured Emily Cassell, Director of Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Richard Goldman President & CEO of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, and Jennifer Wesselhoff, President & CEO of Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

One delegate shared the following feedback with us, "WOW! This was eye-opening. Please continue sessions like these to help us avoid and navigate these tough issues." We will be sure to have more panels featuring your peers at Tourism Academy 2020.

advocacy session

A packed room for the Advoacy Panel Discussion.

Morning Running Tour of Downtown Pittsburgh

Thanks to the early birds who got up and got moving with us on Wednesday morning. We got the inside scoop on Downtown Pittsburgh's history and archicterue, and saw several murals including a Shepard Fairey original. Here are a few #welfies and pics from the run.

sheperd fairy pittsburgh

We discovered this Shepard Fairey mural in Downtown Pittsburgh!

run tour pittsburgh

The Tourism Academy runners. Go team!

The "State" of The State Tourism Office

We received a lot of positive feedback about this panel session all about how to better work with your state tourism office. Moderated by Jake Buganski, the conversation between Todd Davidson Chief Executive Officer of Travel Oregon and Michael Chapaloeny, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Tourism revealed many challenges that state-level tourism organizations face and best practices for regional DMOs to align with their state's efforts and resources.

state tourism offices

Discussing how to better align with your state tourism office.

Wednesday Night Party

The band was back to rock out at Mike's Beer Bar. Guests enjoyed 80 rotating taps and a 500-deep bottle list of craft beer, plus sandwiches from local favorite Primanti Bros. We featured a few new guest singers and players this year, including Brenda from VisitPITTSBURGH who sang a mean Joan Jett cover. Who knew we had so many secret rock stars among us?

band at party

Rocking out at the Wednesday night party.

beastie boys

Wait is that the Beastie Boys? No, it's just Alex and Dave.

Adam Sacks Keynote on Global Forecast for Tourism Industry

It's always a pleasure to welcome Adam Sacks, Founder & President of Tourism Economics, back to the Tourism Academy stage (both as a presenter and a member of our house band). Adam's breadth and depth of knowledge are unparalleled when it comes to interpreting the economic trends and indicators impacting the ravel industry.

One delegate shared her thoughts, "Love hearing the updates on the "state of the industry" from Adam, always super interesting!" Another attendee said, "Adam explains concepts in a very digestible way. Brought some great nuggets back for my next board meeting."

adam sacks

Adam Sacks' keynote on the economic forecast for global tourism.

Context, Empathy & Curiosity: An Interactive Workshop

Troy Thompson took us through examples of how to use local context, empathy, and curiosity to approach our destination storytelling in new ways. We hope you enjoyed connecting with peers, gathering feedback and inspiration from the group, and generating new ideas to take home with you! One delegate shared his thoughts about the session, "Troy's presentation was one of the most unique and helpful ways to look at how we market our destination. Would love to see him again!"

troy thompson travel

Troy works with one of the groups to brainstorm new ideas.

interactive workshop

Delegates share their thoughts in this interactive workshop.

Tourism Academy Classic Golf Tournament

This was the innaugural year for our pre-conference golf tournament, The Tourism Academy Classic, benefiting the Destinations International Foundation. We got a great day out on the fairway and want to thank our golfers and sponsors for their support of this important cause!

golf tourney

The Tourism Academy Classic Golf Tournament.

golf team

Thank you golfers! Looking great!

golf warm up

Warming up before the tournament.

About The Author

Britt Brouse

Director of Strategy

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