Black Meetings and Tourism

March / April 2020

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I N T H E N E W S B M & T ••• March/April 2020 ••• 6 FIVE AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY INSPIRE 40 YOUNG MEN AT "MEN IN HOSPITALITY" BREAKFAST During the last week of Black History Month, the American Experience Foundation, Destination DC's 501(c)(3) public charity, hosted approxi- mately 40 11th and 12th grade boys from all four Academies of Hospitality and Tourism for a "Men in Hospitality" breakfast at Ballou High School. Key African-American industry leaders participated in a panel discussion to share their expertise and support for the young men aspiring for careers in the hospitality industry. "One of my favorite parts of my job is working with the American Experience Foundation at events like this is one" said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, one of the speakers. "The pan- elists and I were able to share learn- ings from tough childhood moments and first job experiences to advice on workplace ethics and career readiness. Being able to inter- act with a room full of young African-American boys with a few of my peers in the hospitality industry was the highlight of my day." •Other Speakers included: •Ray Bennet, chief global officer, Marriott international •Cedric Daily, CEO, CDVoyages •Thomas Penny, president, Donohue •Rauf Shakir, co-founder and VP of sales and marketing, USA Guided Tours •Calvin Ruffin, mass media and auto tech director at Ballou High School (moderator) SEATTLE CELEBRATES TENTH YEAR OF RECORD-BREAKING TOURISM SEASON WITH MORE THAN 41 MILLION VISITORS IN 2019 Seattle and King County saw record visitor volume, expenditures, tax contributions and travel-related employment for Seattle and King County in 2019 for the tenth year in a row. The results were released at Visit Seattle's 2020 Annual Meeting at Benaroya Hall on Feb. 24. Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk and Visit Seattle Board of Directors Chair and General Manager of the Sheraton Grand Seattle Keri Robinson welcomed more than 500 tourism and business professionals to the annual event. The program also included guest speaker Tim Burgess, former Seattle City Councilmember and interim mayor. This year's keynote conversation took place between Christina Tosi, the two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, owner, founder and CEO of Milk Bar and Brian Canlis of Seattle's famed Canlis restaurant on Queen Anne. The meeting also included a special musical performance by the Seattle Symphony. Preliminary 2019 estimates for topline metrics indicate that a total of 41.9 million visitors came to the city and county in 2019, up 2.3 percent from the previous year, according to the Visit Seattle report, which was created in conjunction with its national research firms, Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. Overnight visitors increased 3 percent to 21.9 million. Those visitors spent $8.1 billion in the city and county in 2019 – an impressive increase of 3.6 percent from the previous year. Visitors paid $837.5 million in state and local taxes in 2019, an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous year. Tourism related jobs also grew in the city and county in 2019; there were 80,317 travel related jobs (up by 2.4 percent) in Seattle and King County. Final data from the study will be released in early May. "We are excited by 10 consecutive years of growth in Seattle and King County tourism," Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk said. "However, we know how fragile tourism is as global events directly impact lives and business in Seattle and our region. The scenario changes daily but our industry is always looking forward and investing in tourism marketing for our future. We hope that with Seattle's compelling infrastructure proj- ects, unique cultural experiences and our incredible natural beauty coupled with the hard work by our partners, civic and city leaders and our dynamic Tom Norwalk

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