Celebration of Hospitality Industry and Call for Engagement Highlight Cincinnati USA CVB Annual Meeting
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau celebrated record-breaking tourism results and recognized key contributors to the local hospitality industry at its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Highlights from the meeting included changes to the CVB’s Board of Directors and bylaws, a call for increased community partnership and engagement and the presentation of the CVB’s Spirit of Cincinnati USA Awards.
The Cincinnati region reported its most successful year for travel and tourism in 2018, with more than 26.6 million annual visitors spending $5.3 billion overall. Growth in the local hospitality industry signals increased economic impact throughout the Cincinnati region, and is a result of strong community collaborations.
“The CVB cannot exist in a vacuum and expect to make the impact we want to make,” said Julie Calvert, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA CVB. “When we are aggressive and proactive as part of a larger regional collaboration with our government, chambers, economic development organizations and business partners, then we maximize our power.”
Guided by the theme “The Power of We,” the CVB emphasized the depth, breadth and impact of the local tourism industry in front of more than 400 attendees, including hospitality employees, business professionals, government officials and community leaders. A host of representatives from the tourism industry, ranging from Who Dey and Mr. Red Legs to a hotel concierge and a tour guide, filled the stage at the conclusion of the meeting to represent the region’s 80,000 hospitality employees.
Strategic Approach for CVB’s Future
In her first Annual Meeting at the helm of the CVB, Calvert outlined a strategic approach based on team growth, partner engagement, visitor experience, destination development and governance. Calvert underscored the importance of creating economic impact through tourism by establishing meaningful and authentic connects between visitors and residents and making Cincinnati’s convention infrastructure contemporary and competitive.
“Five principles – influence, authority, inclusion, transparency and collaboration – have set the foundation for our entire organization and keep us focused on our mission and vision every day. When that happens, the creative and strategic programs we develop are on target and have a tremendous impact.”
Calvert’s sentiments were echoed by outgoing CVB Board Chairman, Jim McGraw, and incoming Chairman Mario San Marco. Under their leadership, the CVB Board of Directors and membership approved changes to the Code of Regulations to increase community engagement through an elevated board presence.
“As Board Chair, I want to make sure that every community leader and decision-maker understands how critical it is that this industry has everything it needs to thrive,” said San Marco, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at Western & Southern Financial Group. “We’re taking the same approach to build a stronger CVB board aligned on the same goal – to drive our regional economy forward in a smart, proactive way.”
Celebrating Strong Results
The Cincinnati community’s tourism and hospitality industry comprises 10 percent of the regional economy and brings in more than $5 billion annually in visitor spending. The CVB’s work in 2018, as described at the Annual Meeting, continued to contribute to the industry’s significant impact.
2018 Spirit of Cincinnati USA Award Winners
The CVB’s Spirit of Cincinnati USA Awards recognize the influencers and advocates of the local hospitality region who have gone above and beyond to drive the Cincinnati region forward. This year’s awards program reflected the Annual Meeting’s “Power of We” theme with a diverse group of winners represented.
Champion Award for Convention and Meeting Sales
Horace Sudduth Progressive Business Award
Wendell P. Dabney Award for Diversity
Erich Kunzel Queen City Advocate Award
Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Service