Destination NEXT:

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
One John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI 53703

4:30 p.m. Registration
5:00 p.m. Networking, Reception, and Award Recognition
6:00 p.m. Program, featuring Rick Antonson


Celebrate Madison and the tourism industry at this inspirational evening designed to highlight what's NEXT for our destination.We welcome visionary author and former Tourism Vancouver President & CEO Rick Antonson as he inspires us to think big about Madison's next 20 years and beyond. Rick was a visionary for the city of Vancouver as he led various destination initiatives, including a bid for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Games and Keep Vancouver Spectacular, an annual clean-up initiative now in its 19th year. Rick's belief that tourism benefits a destination economically, environmentally and socially has earned him a place in the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in addition to receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal that honors significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

During this event, we’ll also reveal the winners of our Spirit of Hospitality Awards. This recognition honors hospitality professionals who make Madison memorable for leisure, business and convention visitors each and every day. Each winner’s story will be shared via video vignette and their craft celebrated—for the impact they’ve had on our local reputation as well as the future success of our destination.

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Rick Antonson has spent 30 years as a leader in the Tourism Industry. He served as board chair of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) based in Washington, D.C.; and as deputy chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) based in Bangkok, Thailand; and as a Games Ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Winter & Paralympic Games held in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada. He was also President of Pacific Coast Public Television until the Spring of 2014, CEO of Tourism Edmonton, Managing Director at Vancouver, Coast and Mountains and TIABC.

Under his leadership, Tourism Vancouver has played a significant role in shaping Vancouver and British Columbia's future. Rick collaborated with leaders of other organizations in launching the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Task Force and worked with fellow industry executives to secure endorsement by three levels of government. He was at the helm of Tourism Vancouver when the destination marketing organization made a 90 million dollar investment on behalf of the tourism industry to ensure expansion proceeded.

Rick believes tourism's benefits are economical, social, cultural and environmental, and he led Tourism Vancouver and the City of Vancouver in a "clean up campaign" that, 20 years later, is still an annual event. Keep Vancouver Spectacular brings together businesses, neighborhoods and citizens in this one-day clean up event.

Rick has been presented with the IMEX Academy Award in Europe, he is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and he has been inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame.

Rick Antonson also authored the book Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America's Main Street (2012) which the New York Times noted as "One of the best books of the bunch" in their 2012 Christmas travel book roundup, and To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey Through West Africa (2013) which the Chicago Tribune called a "travel classic." Rick is now a full-time author with a forthcoming travel narrative, Full Moon Over Noah's Ark: An Odyssey to Mount Ararat (2015).


Special thanks to our Destination NEXT event sponsors!

Community Pillar Sponsors:

Media Sponsor:

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