If you haven’t had a chance yet, you still have a few days to register for GRCVB’s Annual Meeting on Wed., Aug. 21, 2019, at the Raleigh Convention Center. (Registration closes on Wed., Aug. 14, 2019).

We hope you have noticed that the theme of the ticketed luncheon is “Why Tourism Matters.” Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, the professional trade association for destination organizations such as ours, will anchor the session. Welsh is the former CEO of the Chicago, Indianapolis and Seattle bureaus and brings a treasure trove of knowledge about the industry.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here.

In addition to the luncheon, Wake County hospitality partners and other stakeholders are invited to the free, pre-luncheon Strategy Session at 10am in Room 402 of the convention center. In this smaller, breakout type meeting, we present topics with what we hope is valuable takeaway about either the business of Wake County tourism or trends and developments in the industry that might be relevant to the work you do.

This year, we will be highlighting these three GRCVB initiatives:

Designing a Dynamic Destination
We’re very excited about this topic, and you will be hearing much more about it in the days and months ahead. Duarte Morais, Ph.D., and Gene Brothers, Ph.D., are both faculty members in North Carolina State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Together, they founded People-First Tourism, a “movement which seeks a world where travelers develop deep connections with their hosts, are transformed by the genuine local cultures they experience and improve the lives of the people they visit.”

The People-First Tourism initiative looks to residents and the expertise they have to share and connects them with visitors via online bookings to create meaningful interaction and hands-on learning experiences.

GRCVB has been working closely with People-First Tourism, Inc., so much so that the company factors significantly into the Destination Strategic Plan (DSP). The goal set by the DSP is that GRCVB, working in concert with People-First Tourism, Inc., and others will develop, foster and promote 500 signature experiences in Wake County by 2028, the final year of the DSP.

It’s ambitious, but so are Drs. Morais and Brothers, and we’re excited about making it happen, too.

That idea segues into the second topic of the Strategy Session, and that’s Wake County’s destination brand strategy. 

Keeping the Destination Brand Promise
If you need a refresher, check here and remember that, according to our comprehensive 2014-2015 research project, Raleigh, N.C.’s brand promise centers on people—the creators and innovators who are always dreaming and inventing new experiences, which can enrich our visitors. GRCVB’s director of marketing Jonathan Freeze, CDME, CHIA, will report how the brand continues to evolve and how area hospitality partners can integrate the brand message and new tactics into your marketing strategies.

Update on Destination 2028
Since our destination brand is all about people and what they create, you can see how People-First Tourism is a natural fit all the way around. 

And since both People-First Tourism and the destination brand feature prominently in the Destination Strategic Plan... it only makes sense that the Strategy Session concludes with Dan Douglas, GRCVB’s director of destination development, discussing what has happened concerning the DSP these last 12 months and forecast what is coming next with your help.

All of these topics dovetail together to give clarity and definition to our future as a destination. That is the CVB’s job, after all, and we hope you will be able to attend both the luncheon and the Strategy Session so you can be on the “inside” as we, as a destination, move ahead.