While the competition among cities is serious, there is nonetheless a significant amount of sharing that takes place in the areas of operational best practices and peer-to-peer learning. The premier opportunity for this type of professional sharing takes place at the annual convention of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). That event is taking place in our city through tomorrow.
Don Welsh is the new CEO of DMAI and has worked with his team to ensure that the annual convention is an event that informs, educates and inspires. Don and his team welcomed more than 1,400 DMO executives from across the country and around the world. Last year's event took place in Austin where there was all-time record attendance, and we are on track to exceed that mark.
DMAI last met here in 2000, and all the events took place in the Marriott City Center. This year, DMAI is at the Minneapolis Convention Center along with partner hotels the Hilton Minneapolis, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis and the Millennium Minneapolis. Several other properties are also hosting attendees and a number of offsite events are taking place in our partner venues and restaurants.
Meet Minneapolis and our fellow DMOs are responsible for monitoring and responding to trends that impact our industry and our local partner organizations. A DMO's partners join forces with it because of the access to resources and business intelligence that come from a collaborative group of competitors. The Meet Minneapolis team is anxious to put into practice some of ideas that are being exchanged this week. Some of our team members are being called on as session panelists, as well.
The response to our city has been overwhelmingly positive from our peers in spite of many areas currently under construction. But as fellow destination marketers, they understand that this means we are a vibrant and growing city.
The annual convention theme is, “It's A Brand New Day,” which capsulizes the mandate that Don Welsh and his new team has. According to Don, DMAI endeavors to "transform the way we operate to establish DMAI as the premier trade association for destination marketing organizations around the world."
Our entire team has played a role in one way or another in preparing for DMAI and I thank them all. I also want to thank all of our local partners who have helped us to welcome our industry peers. Those peers are definitely envious of the team we have assembled here in the Minneapolis hospitality/tourism community.