Black Meetings and Tourism

July/August 2014

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B M & T ••• July/August 2014 ••• 6 Minister of Tourism for The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT the Honorable Obie Wilchombe announced recently the appointment of Mr. Linville Johnson, to the position of director of the African-American Market. The new appointment, which became effective July 1, 2014, is part of the BMOT's leadership restructuring, new marketing strat- egy and commitment to increasing its support and visibility in the African-American market. The former director of the Religious Market for The BMOT has spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry working in various capacities in Chicago, Detroit, New York and California. Over the past 12 years, he has worked in the faith based market, which oftentimes, included working closely with African-American groups, who he regards as having 'many shades, many faces, but belonging to one family'. According to Johnson "more than a trillion dollars is generated annually from the African-American market and for decades, The Bahamas has always enjoyed a fantastic relationship with African-Americans. Our geographical location, as the first country outside of the United States of America, our easy access, affordability, pre-American Customs and Immigration clearances, coupled with our shared affinity for heritage tourism and culture makes us an ideal destination for African-Americans". "The world knows that The Bahamas has great weather, the best beaches, crystal clear waters and the friendliest people on earth, but we want to highlight and celebrate our rich culture, legacy and historical ties that bind African-Americans and Bahamians together, all of which makes us distinctively different from any other destination in the world," said Johnson. "From mid 1700s shared slavery linkages of the Gullah Geeche Tribe in the Carolinas and South Georgia to the building up of Coconut Grove and Miami, Florida by Bahamians, to the tranquil waters in Bimini, Bahamas where American civil rights leader the late great Martin Luther King penned his now famous "I Have A Dream" speech, The Bahamas and African-Americans share a proud heritage. We want to ensure that our legacies are kept alive, celebrated and experienced by both our citizenry," concluded Johnson. BAHAMAS APPOINTS LINVILLE JOHNSON AS NEW DIRECTOR FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN MARKET Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), has been hon- ored with the 2014 destination marketing Hall of Fame Award by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). The award was created to honor individuals who have changed the future of destination marketing for the bet- ter, made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and shaped travel marketing. "DMAI as an organization recognized the importance of leadership in our industry to sustain our 100 year history and grow destination marketing into the multibillion dollar industry that it is today," said Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI. "Our goal is to shine a spotlight on these pioneers, champions and influencers, and allow our members around the globe an opportunity to get to know them and their works." Ralenkotter, last year celebrated his fortieth year at the LVCVA, where he oversaw the creation of the most suc- cessful branding campaign in tourism history, best known for its oft-repeated tagline, "What happens here, stays here." It was selected the No. 1 campaign by the voting public and was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011. Ralenkotter is engaged with the travel industry, having served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism, chairman of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce, and chairman of the U.S. Travel Association. N E W S M A K E R S LVCVA'S ROSSI RALENKOTTER INDUCTED INTO INAUGURAL DESTINATION MARKETING HALL OF FAME

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