A seasoned tourism executive with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, Welsh serves as the President and CEO of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the global trade association for official destination marketing organizations (DMOs). Welsh leads the organization’s efforts to advocate for the professionalism, effectiveness, and significance of destination marketing organizations worldwide.
Since joining the association, Welsh has set forth key priorities, including: returning to a member-centric organization, placing the right people in the right jobs, putting the “I” back into DMAI, renewing its focus on education and more.
Prior to joining DMAI, Welsh served as the President and CEO of Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for Chicago. In this role Welsh was responsible for marketing Chicago to business and leisure travelers throughout regional, national and international markets. During his five years with Choose Chicago, Welsh developed and implemented initiatives that contributed to stellar results for Chicago’s visitor industry. Welsh and his team reported a record-breaking and results driven 2014, including an all-time record of 50.2 million visitors to Chicago resulting in record tourism spending, record hotel tax revenue and jobs; 14 months of record demand for hotel rooms and 13% growth in hotel room night production by the Choose Chicago convention sales team.
Welsh also held the CEO position at the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau. Prior to joining the DMO industry, Welsh served as senior vice president for Westin Hotels at its corporate headquarters, and has also held senior leadership positions in sales and marketing for Westin Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. He is an Executive Committee member of the U.S. Travel Association and a Board member of Association Forum.