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Colorado Springs Press Releases

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
Director of Communications

April 9, 2014

Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Convention Sales Recognized with Annual Leadership Award

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Kathy Reak, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Convention Sales, has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Meetings Industry Council’s (MIC) Leadership Award. The Annual Leadership Award recognizes individuals that demonstrate active leadership within the meetings industry. This includes leadership within one or more MIC organizations and the personal and professional integrity that allows them to stand out among their peers.

Selection criteria for the award include positions held within industry organizations, committees the leader has chaired and special projects or events they have assisted in organizing. The Selection Committee also reviews specific ways in which the winner has served as a role model to their peers, including work towards the advancement of the industry by sharing their knowledge through published articles, presentations to students or businesses and stewardship for the industry with any multitude of organizations related to or impacted by meetings.

Many past award winners have been recognized with awards from one or more MIC member organizations for the same efforts that solidified their selection as the MIC Industry Leader, Reak included. She was given the MPI Supplier of the Year Award in 2012 as well as the Supplier Hall of Fame award in 2009 for Colorado Meetings & Events Magazine.

About the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado

The Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado is a coalition of professional organizations related to the meetings and events industry. The Council's purpose is to enhance collaboration among participating organizations through networking and education, while being the main source for industry knowledge and consultation as well as foster the continued growth of the meetings and event industry in Colorado.

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February 1, 2013

Manitou Springs, CO “Incline” Trail Now Open, Legal to Public

Considered One of the Country’s Toughest Climbs

Colorado Springs, Colorado – February 1, 2013 - Hikers will no longer be trespassing on the Manitou Springs Incline. That's because beginning Friday, February 1, 2013 hiking up the old railway bed will be legal. The Manitou Springs City Council gave the final approval for opening the popular trail on Tuesday, January 29. What began as a railway to transport material for an old water line, will now officially be recognized as one of the most popular trails in the U.S.

"This day has been long-awaited and opening the Incline has been an amazing process to watch," said Bill Beagle of the Incline Friends committee. "I speak for myself and for the members of Incline Friends when I offer my sincere congratulations to all who worked to make this happen. A legal Incline is something that the people of the Pikes Peak Region deserve." The process began in 2009 with the formation of the Manitou Incline Task Force - representatives from Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the Forest Service, Manitou Springs residents and others - which began forming the Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan.

At its core, the plan identified 13 key steps to complete before the Incline could be made legal. After four years and a lot of hard work, those required steps have been taken. Colorado Springs City Council gave its final approval earlier this month.

The opening will mark a historic day for all who love the Manitou Incline. Gaining about 2,000 feet elevation over one mile, the Incline had been climbed illegally as many as 350,000 times each year. It is, perhaps, the most unique and challenging trail in the country, attracting runners, Olympic athletes and cyclists. The trail is also used by military personnel and even soccer moms. More than anything, the Incline is famous for dishing out a tough workout. "I can’t think of any particular workout, route, or activity that forces you to push your boundaries quite like the Incline does," said Cameron Chambers, national mountain bike champion. "Redlined - that is the only word I can think of when describing the workout the Incline gives you." Jim Caple of ESPN survived his first attempt of the vertically vicious climb in July of 2012.

There are big challenges ahead for the Incline Friends group, a nonprofit organization formed in the spring of 2011. Incline Friends is dedicated to making the Incline sustainable and open to the public and has hosted fundraising events and organized volunteer work days. Steve Bremner, president of Incline Friends, said there is plenty of work left to do. Now that the Incline is legal, repairs, maintenance and trail building can begin, but fundraising is the top priority. "The opening of the Incline is the start of the next phase in the saga, now we have to raise $1 million to make badly needed repairs," Bremner said. Much of the Incline will require little or no work, but large sections will need to be repaired.

Incline Friends committee member Tim Bergsten states, “An open Incline is crucial to a region that takes great pride in the active lifestyles of its residents. As a community I think we've made a statement that living healthfully is important to us.”

Visit for updated information about the Manitou Incline.

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January 29, 2013


Resident’s Photo Graces Cover of Region’s 2013 Official Visitor Guide

Scenic Sunrise Shot in Garden of the Gods Park


Colorado Springs, Colorado – January 29, 2013 – Each year, an inspirational and vibrant photo is chosen to represent the Colorado Springs region on the cover of the area’s official visitor guide. This cover entices people to pick up the publication or download the electronic version at Previous subject matter has included natural gems such as Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain and Garden of the Gods Park.

This past September, the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and Pikes Peak Country Attractions Association (PPCAA) made a call to residents, visitors and professional & amateur photographers alike for possible cover photos. Resident photographer, James Harris of The Quiet Light Photography, snapped the winning shot. James’ photo has made its debut on the cover of the 2013 official visitor guide, available now.

Originally from California, James and his family moved to the area in 2001. He has always been drawn to the mountains and chose the area for its beauty and low cost of living. “Having the Rockies in such close proximity is one of the main reasons we chose Colorado Springs and housing prices were nearly 60 percent less than where we moved from,” James says. The chosen photo was taken from Rattlesnake Ridge (closed to the public in 2012) in the Garden of the Gods Park on August 25, 2010 at 6:20 a.m. “A friend and I had researched the time of the moonset/sunrise for that date and we were there taking the photos before the sunrise. It was a morning of incredible light.”

James started taking paid photo assignments in 1979. In California, he owned his own stock photo business and had photos published in magazines, on covers and in nature guide books. In addition to his photography business, he also does graphic design work and says the two complement one another nicely. The beauty of the area easily inspires him, “I could literally spend days at a time photographing alpine tundra, the aspens in fall and just the varied cultures of the city itself.” James’ name will be included on 550,000 printed copies of the guide.

The magazine-style guide is one of the most widely distributed publications in the state of Colorado. The visitor guide is the primary communication piece sent out to leisure travelers inquiring about the region. They are distributed inpidually to 160,000 people each year who request the guide via phone, email,, Facebook and the Colorado Springs mobile app, in addition to any visitors stopping by the Visitor Information Center. The remaining guides are pided among hotels, attractions, welcome centers, visitor centers and airports throughout the state. They are also distributed in key feeder markets such as Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

To find more about The Quiet Light and view James’ other work, visit

The CVB will be making another call for photos to be considered for the 2014 guide in late May. Like their Facebook page for updates on the contest.

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January 23, 2013

Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau Staff Promotions, Certification and Title Changes

Colorado Springs, Colo. – January 23, 2013 – The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announces the following staff promotions, certification and title changes:

Chelsy Murphy, formerly the Public Relations Manager, has been promoted to the Director of Communications.Murphyjoined the CVB in December 2008 from a national advertising agency. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Communications-Media Management from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs., 719.685.7639.

Sharen Piper, formerly Membership & Special Events Manager, has been promoted to Director of Partnership Sales & Events. Piper joined the CVB in August 2010 and came from an extensive career in local hotel sales and restaurant management., 719.685.7627.

Cheryl McCullough, formerly Sports & Special Events Sales Manager, has been promoted to Senior Sales Manager - Sports & Special Events. McCullough joined the CVB in 1997 celebrating 15 years of service to the organization in 2013. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Blair College and a Bachelor of Science with honors in Technical Management with a Concentration in Sales & Marketing from DeVry University., 719.685.7642.

Gaby Stephenson, CVB Executive Assistant, has received her certification with the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the premier association for administrative professionals. She has been recognized with the Certified Administrative Professional rating, or CAP along with specialties in Organizational Management, OM. This certification represents an increase of aptitude in key areas of organization and planning, information distribution and administration skills. She is also serving as the President-Elect for the association., 719.685.7652.

Amy Long, formerly VP of Marketing & Membership, has had a title change to VP of Marketing & Partnerships., 719.685.7630. This is a reflection of the CVB’s new partnership model meant to more accurately represent the region to visitors and meeting planners. Consistent with this new model, Denise Noble, formerly Membership Coordinator, has also had a title change to Partnership Coordinator., 719.685.7621.

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January 16, 2013

Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau Launches “Suite” Campaign in Hopes of

Wooing Traffic to Online Booking Engine



Colorado Springs, Colorado - January 16, 2013 - Roses, chocolate, candy and cupid are everywhere in February. The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is asking lovers to skip the heart-shaped box of confectionary calories and do something different this Valentine’s Day, like indulge their sweet with a Colorado Springs suite. Guests can book tailored packages through the “Suites for Your Sweet” campaign. For example, The Mining Exchange’s “Makin’ Whoopee” or El Colorado Lodge’s “Fired up Romance” offering.

After vetting seven online booking engines, the CVB enlisted the help of Regatta Travel Solutions to integrate direct bookings on their website, The Regatta system was launched on August 15, 2012 with the goal to drive bookings to partner accommodations and attractions in the region. To date, the CVB has received more than $15,000 in reservations from 24 different states and some people are booking over 10 months in advance. “This is a successful system for us and presents another way for visitors to connect with local businesses,” states Tracy Kocher, Online Marketing Manager for the CVB.

For more details on “Suites for Your Sweet”, read the press release here.

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January 9, 2013

Colorado Springs Named #13 Gayest City by The Advocate



Gayest Cities in America, 2013 –

Being a great LGBT city doesn’t just mean having a raucous nightlife, so if you expected to see Hell’s Kitchen or the Castro, you’re reading the wrong list.

BY Matthew Breen

January 09 2013 9:00 AM ET

Are you shocked that Los Angeles and New York didn’t make the list in our fourth annual accounting of city life in America? Then listen up, honey. As much as we love fabulous soirees and mimosa brunches, there’s much more to LGBT life than that. We live in little burgs and big cities and tons of places in between — so we’re looking at the in-between. This year our totally accurate (and totally subjective and constantly changing) criteria for a great gay city had to include two of the biggest legislative and political developments for LGBTs: marriage equality votes in four states and the election that swept a ton of queers into high office, including seven members of Congress.

Read the full article here.

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December 14, 2012

Pikes Peak Highway open to bicyclists year round starting Jan. 1



Pikes Peak - America’s Mountain, in cooperation with the United States Forest Service, will open the Pikes Peak Highway to unescorted bicyclists year round beginning January 1, 2013.

“After a successful pilot program in September 2012, we are very excited to open the Pikes Peak Highway to cyclists year round,” says Karen Palus, City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director. “We know avid cyclists from the Pikes Peak Region and around the world will come to experience the challenge and beauty that Pike’s Peak - America’s Mountain has to offer.”

All riders must complete a use agreement and liability waiver available at the Pikes Peak Highway tollgate. Because of the extreme nature of the mountain, children under the age of 18 must be escorted by a parent or legal guardian. Riders need to be aware that there will be vehicular traffic and construction on the Highway and should be prepared for changing weather conditions.

There is no parking near the tollgate so any riders planning to drive to the highway and then bike to the summit are encouraged to park at the Crystal Reservoir Visitors Center parking lot or above. All riders must follow all safety and traffic rules, use regulations and hours of operation.

Participants are required to pay the regular admission fee or use one of the Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain passes. North Slope fees and passes are not eligible for this opportunity.

More information can be found at: or

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November 28, 2012

Natalie Hirsch Joins Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau



Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 28, 2012 Natalie Hirsch has been appointed as the new Sales Manager for the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). Hirsch was previously with Embassy Suites and comes from a hotel sales background with prior positions at Hyatt Place and Hilton Garden Inn.

Before hotel sales, she spent several years in the food and beverage industry including management of area restaurants. She is a Colorado native and loves the outdoors.

At the CVB, Hirsch is responsible for all government and military events including military reunions, associations headquartered in states west of the Mississippi River, education associations as well as fraternal and defense contractors. She can be reached at or 719.685.7638.


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November 8, 2012

Community Heroes Recognized at Annual Tourism Awards Dinner


Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 8, 2012 – The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) held their Annual Tourism Industry Awards Celebration Wednesday evening at the Colorado Springs Crowne Plaza. This year’s theme: A Community of Heroes. Industry awards were presented by CVB Board Chair Alicia McConnell, who is also the Director of Training Sites and Community Partnerships at the U.S. Olympic Committee, and CVB President & CEO Doug Price.

The evening, led by special guest and KRDO news anchor Jon Karroll, recognized regional first responders and those tasked with rebuilding the devastated neighborhoods after the Waldo Canyon Fire. Guests were treated to a performance by the Flying W Wranglers. Award presenters included City Councilman Scott Hente and County Commissioner Sallie Clark, who both served heroically during and after the fire. Those first responders recognized included the Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center with Jerri Marr accepting the award and Colorado Springs Together with Team Leader Bob Cutter accepting the award. Other first responder recognitions went to:

· Palmer Lake Fire Department

· Security Fire Station 2

· Stratmoor Hills Fire Department

· Hanover Fire Department

· Calhan Fire Department

· Cañon City Fire Station 1

· Mountain Communities Volunteer Fire Department

The Tourism Industry Achievement Award was given to Bonnie Frum, who recently retired after 18 years as Director of Operations for Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. This particular award is not presented every year and is reserved for rare inpiduals who have made a profound mark on the local tourism industry.

The CVB enlisted the help of member partners to nominate and recognize management, staff and volunteers who acted heroically during and after the fire as well as throughout the year.

The Management Hero Award was given to Brian Healy of the Colorado Springs Marriott. Healy updated and executed the evacuation plan for the property two days prior to the fire and worked with Chuck Murphy of Gray Line Tours to pre-arrange for the safe evacuation of guests should it become necessary. Due to Brian’s foresight, planning and excution, the staff was able to safely evaucate more than 1,000 guest within 35 minutes.

The Volunteer Hero Award was given to Carol Ekarius, Executive Director of the Coalition of the Upper South Platte. Carol and her volunteers have spent more than 5,000 hours at Flying W Ranch, falling trees throughout the property, donating seed, providing instruction on promoting vegetation growth and preventing or mitigating flooding.

The Staff Hero Award was given to Jason Moore, Operations Director of the Flying W Ranch. When the fire broke out, Jason immediately returned to the ranch to evacuate the horses and save priceless memorabilia. Throughout the weekend, he provided refreshments to firefighters and policemen. He drove a hay-filled truck to coax the cattle to safety in the northern pasture and then returned as soon as he could to care for them until they could be relocated to Norris-Penrose Event Center.

From the CVB staff, Kathy Reak, Director of Convention Sales and Cheryl McCullough, Sports & Special Events Sales Manager, were both recognized for 15 years of dedicated service to the organization.

Event sponsors included Crowne Plaza, Ent Business Banking, KRDO News Channel 13, Colorado Springs Utilities, DocuMart, Marvel’s Cake Boutique and Miller/Coors.

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October 10, 2012

Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau, Yellow Cab Partner for Continued

“Welcome Back” Campaign Efforts

Colorado Springs, Colorado – October 10, 2012 – The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) continues to implement a coordinated marketing and communications recovery plan to boost economic activity in both the short and long term for the entire Pikes Peak region after the Waldo Canyon Fire. Various initiatives are taking place under the umbrella theme of “Welcome Back”. This plan underscores the resiliency of our community and explicitly invites people to visit the region or consider the area for business relocation.

Many generous community members and organizations have donated to the “Welcome Back” campaign efforts, including Yellow Cab of Colorado Springs, who has donated ad space on the back of many of their vehicles to showcase the campaign messaging. “We more than understand the importance and value of supporting the ‘Welcome Back’ efforts and are happy to help in any way we can,” states Yellow Cab Director of Marketing Kristi Maucher.

Other organizations that have made monetary or in-kind donations include: Pikes Peak Country Attractions, El Paso County, DeAnne McCann and Paul Konecny, Gray Line Tours, Peggy Ives, Sherri Cassidy, Regional Leadership Forum, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, Pikes Peak Realtor Services Corp., Ent Federal Credit Union, The Broadmoor, Downtown Partnership, Lyda Hill, Antlers Hilton, Bryan Construction and the Colorado Restaurant Association, Pikes Peak Chapter.

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August 8, 2012

Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau Location Gets a Facelift

New Signage Incorporates Regional Logo and Color Palette

Colorado Springs, Colorado – August 8, 2012 – The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is constantly integrating the new regional brand and creative assets into all facets of the organization’s marketing efforts. Most recently, the CVB has done so on their new outdoor signage that is prominently displayed outside their downtown location. They’ve also incorporated the brand assets into their conference room where many community meetings take place.

The Colorado Springs regional logo is a welcome symbol to all visitors and a tool that residents and local businesses can use to promote the area. The logo is representative of the brand characteristics of Colorado Springs and the region, vibrant, rugged and exceptional. The colorful new signage is the first thing that greets visitors as they pull into the Visitor Center’s parking lot located at 515 S. Cascade Avenue.

Businesses are invited to utilize the brand assets for their own marketing efforts and can access the Brand Toolkit for guidelines.

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August 7, 2012

Colorado Springs CVB Signs with Regatta Travel Solutions


Charlottesville, Virginia (August 7, 2012) – The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has signed an agreement with Regatta Travel Solutions to implement their booking engine on The goal of the project is to drive bookings to accommodations and attractions in Colorado Springs and the surrounding region through the CVB website.

“We spent quite some time talking to other CVBs and researching the available options in the market,” said Tracy Kocher, Online Marketing & Publications Manager forthe CVB. “We wanted a solution that would truly make an impact, and that would allow us to grow traffic, conversion and revenues for our partners. Based on what we heard from Regatta’s existing customers, and our audit of other available options, the choice was clear.”

“This project has a lot of potential,” said Ashwin Kamlani, President of Regatta Travel Solutions. “We applaud the Colorado Springs CVB for stepping up to the plate and taking a more active approach toward attracting leisure bookings for their partners.”

Colorado Springs offers more than 55 unique attractions such as Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain, Garden of the Gods Park, river rafting, museums, scenic railroads and much more. Regatta Travel Solutions is quickly gaining recognition among CVBs because their technology is extremely user friendly for suppliers and consumers. Regatta also specializes in tactical online travel marketing strategies. The partnership with Regatta will enable the CVB to engage potential visitors at the moment they are ready to book. The new booking engine is expected to launch on sometime in August.

About The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the leading marketing organization for group and leisure travel and tourism to the Colorado Springs region. The organization is dedicated to a strong national and international presence so that tourism is a primary contributor to a thriving local economy.

About Regatta Travel Solutions Inc.

Regatta Travel Solutions provides specialized online booking technology and marketing tactics for DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations). DMOs that use Regatta to book travel on their sites can increase revenue for their destination, lower the cost paid by suppliers per booking, and increase membership and participation for their organizations. Visit for more details. Regatta Travel Solutions is an Alliance Partner of DMAI.

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July 11, 2012

Regional Organizations Converge to Welcome Business Back to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region After Waldo Canyon Fire

Colorado Springs, Colorado – July 11, 2012 – After the tragic events of the Waldo Canyon Fire and the world-wide coverage it has received, communities and business are suffering due to the misperception that a large portion of the region burned, the city is still on fire or that our natural beauty has been compromised. Since the start of this natural disaster, local organizations have been working together on a plan to help all affected communities by keeping business doors open and operating, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, activities and service providers.

“We are mindful of the loss that the community has already endured,” said Doug Price, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. “People are at risk of losing their jobs, their benefits and their businesses if we can’t get visitation back where it should be. Nearly 350 families lost their homes to the fire, and we don’t want more people to lose their homes because they can’t make their rent or mortgage payments.”

Organizations that make up the Pikes Peak Regional Business Recovery Team include: the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), Pikes Peak Country Attractions Association, the Downtown Development Authority, Manitou Springs Chamber, Woodland Park Chamber, Tri- Lakes Chamber and El Paso County.

The team is developing a coordinated marketing and communications recovery plan to boost economic activity in both the short and long term for the entire Pikes Peak region. Various initiatives are taking place under the umbrella theme of “Welcome Back”. This plan underscores the resiliency of our community and explicitly invites people to visit the region or consider the area for business relocation. Bourbon Street Productions and Cukjati Design generously donated their time and resources to produce videos communicating that Colorado Springs and surrounding communities are safe, beautiful and open for business. The first video produced is available to view and share here or download here. Other initiatives include a campaign that encourages locals to take a regional “staycation” and buy local as well as a photo contest highlighting our beautiful blue skies and places to enjoy.

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December 7, 2010

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Achieves Destination Marketing Accreditation

Colorado Springs, CO - December 7, 2010 - Experience Colorado Springs, the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), announced today that it has been awarded accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP). DMAP is an international accreditation program developed by the Washington, DC based Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). In earning the DMAP accreditation, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) communicate to their community, buyers and potential visitors that their DMO has attained a significant measure of excellence.

“The Colorado Springs CVB is honored to receive the Destination Marketing Accreditation from DMAP,” said Terry Sullivan, President and CEO of the CVB. “We are very pleased to be recognized in the destination marketing community for providing outstanding services in accordance with international standards and benchmarks in this field.”

“By applying for and receiving DMAP accreditation, the Colorado Springs CVB has demonstrated a commitment to quality programs and services”, said Diana Lawson, FCDME, DMAP Board Chair. “We are proud to recognize these organizations for their achievement. These DMOs’ operations and business practices have conformed to 16 domains ranging from governance to sales to innovation. Their accreditation underscores their dedication to providing exceptional leadership and commitment to the professionalism of DMOs across the globe.”

Experience Colorado Springs is the leading marketing organization for group travel and tourism to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. We are dedicated to a strong national and international presence so that tourism is a primary contributor to a thriving local economy. We maintain a visible presence as a community leader so that our industry members grow and prosper.

DMAP accreditation standards cover a wide variety of topics including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation and stakeholder relationships.

DMAP is an independent international accreditation body and a leader in defining quality and performance issues in destination marketing. 121 DMOs are now accredited. For additional information on DMAP visit

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