We have been sending invitations, emails and other updates these last few weeks about GRCVB's 2018 Annual Meeting, Thurs., Aug. 16, at the Raleigh Convention Center. Ticket sales are closed, so unless you already have a ticket, you will have to wait for the full report to be published online.

This meeting will, of course, reveal the results of the Destination Strategic Plan (DSP, henceforth known as "Destination 2028.") 

You probably know this is the second in a series of Annual Meetings related to Wake County’s DSP. The 2017 Annual Meeting marked the kickoff of the planning project, conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Last year, the team from JLL laid out their process for how they would research the county's assets, current situation and the DSP's final recommendations.

And that’s exactly what they have been doing. During the 13-month project, the JLL team has been in the area eight times, talking to stakeholders in person and evaluating our assets first-hand. In fact, they had more than 1,800 stakeholder interactions:

  • Staff from the 12 municipalities & Wake County government
  • Elected officials, chamber and community leaders
  • 45 topical or industry focus groups (451 attendees)
  • 11 steering committee meetings
  • Nine meetings about demand generators
  • 380 stakeholder survey responses
  • 1,044 resident survey responses

The team has assimilated the information they have collected to help us know our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. As you can imagine, they had a lot of input to work with, but here’s a snapshot of what has surfaced from their research and some examples of questions that may now be answered:

  • Meetings & conventions—Hard to believe, but the Raleigh Convention Center is 10 years old. What has been working well in those years, what can work better and what improvements and/or enhancements should occur to make our area's convention center more efficient and beneficial in terms of increased tourism? And this is just one meeting venue of many countywide.
  • Sports marketing—We know we have one of the best locations in the country for youth and amateur sporting events, but do we need even more facilities? What would have to happen to increase the number of events we can host and attendees drawn here for tournaments?
  • Events—Also one of the things we already know we do well as a county. Given that, what would we have to do to create, support and enhance events of all types to promote them as opportunities for more overnight visitor stays?
  • Destination development—The $10,000 question: do we need to create something new to drive tourism? A new attraction, activity, facility? If we build it, will they come? With the right marketing and promotion, they will.

In addition to these four priority areas, four additional priorities will be outlined. If these make you curious, we look forward to sharing more starting Thurs., Aug. 16.

The truth is, the research phase is the easy part. The challenge will be left for us after JLL has gone. How are we across the Wake County hospitality community, as well as our economic development allies and stakeholders, going to join forces to implement the recommendations that the DSP reveals? It will require a strengthening of the area's support for GRCVB's important mission in many ways, in order to reach a numerical goal of welcoming 21.7 million annual visitors by 2028.

As we have said before, the voices from the 2017 and 2018 Annual Meetings may be reverberating for years to come.

The full report will be posted at this link during Thurs.'s meeting:


By the way, if you haven't already, bookmark the Tourism Talk blog. This is where we will be sharing news, updates and specific action plans as they pertain to Destination 2028.

Let the work begin.