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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) met with state troopers while surveying Gatlinburg’s wildfire damage on Nov. 29.
Photo provided by the Office of the Governor.

Wildfires Cause Evacuations, Destruction in Gatlinburg

By Grant Broadhurst

A historic wildfire fueled by winds of up to 80 miles per hour raged in Tennessee last week, and forced hotel and CVB industry personnel to evacuate. Reportedly damaged or destroyed, in addition to homes, were some hotels and resorts in the Gatlinburg area.
The wildfire, which officials say was likely set either deliberately or accidentally, has killed at least seven people and destroyed over 700 homes and businesses – half of them in Gatlinburg – as of USAE’s deadline. However, tourism leaders are confident the area will bounce back, and there has been strong support from the tourism and hospitality industries. The city of Gatlinburg was evacuated, including the employees of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and guests at local hotels.



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IAEE Expo! Expo! All About Action in Anaheim

By Todd McElwee

It’s all about Action at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. The 2017 conference’s mantra is a reflection of the eclectic and engaging agenda IAEE has constructed for attendees venturing to Anaheim from Dec. 6-8, for its signature event.
David DuBois, CAE, CMP, President & CEO, IAEE told USAE: “Expo! Expo! will feature more than 70 learning opportunities on and off the show floor for all levels of professional experience, niche programming tailored to the various interest groups within our industry, an exhibition showcasing 260 product/service providers, and spectacular networking events over the course of three days. There’s a reason Expo! Expo! has been dubbed the show for shows and we cannot wait to deliver another great meeting to this year’s attendees.”

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ASAE Still Designing Xperience Design
Project (XDP)

By Todd McElwee

What is the Xperience Design Project (XDP)? It’s a question ASAE is still asking itself. Roughly six months out from the show’s May 23-24 debut at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., the possibilities for the inaugural installment of the event are still being explored by ASAE.
Amy Ledoux , CMP , CAE, Sr. Vice President, Meetings and Expositions, ASAE, told USAE unlike ASAE’s established menu of events there’s no XDP template from which to work. On Dec. 16, ASAE will conduct a pilot run of the conference at the Gaylord with roughly 100 in attendance.

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The Fray to Play DMAI Foundation Celebration

By Jonathan Trager

Rock band The Fray, which has been nominated for four Grammys over a 12-year career, will perform at the 2017 Spirit of Hospitality Celebration for the Destination & Travel Foundation.
The 60-minute private concert from the Denver-based group will follow a networking reception and a brief speaking program and awards ceremony. The event will take place on March 1 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
Formed in 2002, The Fray’s 2005 debut, featuring the hit singles “Over My Head (Cable Car)” and “How to Save a Life,” went double-platinum. The band also earned a 2010 Grammy nomination for their self-titled release and has appeared on multiple late night television shows.

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HOTS Ready to Rock?

HOTS is ready to rock during DMAI’s Spirit of Hospitality Celebration on March 1, at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. In addition to honoring Rossi Ralenkotter, President & CEO, Las Vegas CVA; and Peter Yesawich, Vice Chairman, MMGY Global, with the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Leadership Award and Destination and Travel Foundation’s Spirit of Hospitality Award, respectively, DMAI has promised a Grammy-nominated musical act will grace the stage but has yet to announce whom. So, in the spirit of the holidays, here’s HOTS’ musical wish list with acts worth the $395 price of admission.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Visit New Jersey
Famous for marathon sets, the Boss and his crew could have the audience yelling, “Bruuuuce” well into the wee hours of March 2 (which is a Thursday and unfortunately for HOTS a deadline day so maybe Springsteen isn’t the best idea). And who better than the Garden State’s official DMO to help bring the state’s most famous resident to D.C.

Snoop Dogg – Visit Long Beach - Do this for us Gary Sherwin, CDME, President & CEO, Visit Newport Beach Inc. and DMAI Chairman. Mellow and engaging, throughout his 25-year career Snoop has regularly boasted about being from Long Beach. He’s now is the star of VH1’s show “Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party” in which he stars with Martha Stewart, from which stories alone would be worth the price of admission.

Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band – Greater Miami CVB
What could be better after suffering through the chills of December, January and February than the island-baked sounds of Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band?

Bruno Mars - Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) Have you seen his Super Bowl halftime shows? If you haven’t they’re amazing – the closest thing to Michael Jackson in music today.

Bill Joel – NYC & Company and Discover Long Island
Two Empire State organizations can help bring Nassau County’s favorite son, who plays Madison Square Garden regularly and has headlined Nationals Park on multiple occasions, back to D.C. Plus, everyone knows the lyrics to “Piano Man.”

Beach Boys – Visit California
Help me Rhonda, or in this case Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California, land what arguably is the nation’s most iconic rock n’ roll band. The crowd would know every word of their dozens of hit songs.

Chuck Berry – St. Louis CVC
A rock n’ roll original Berry still draws crowds out of their seats during frequent show’s at St. Louis’ Blueberry Hill at the age of 90.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Visit Gainesville
A Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers concert in a driving rainstorm was one of the best concerts HOTS has ever attended. A chart-topping act since the late 1970s, Tom Petty is arguably the city’s most famous export minus the Florida Gators.

Lady Antebellum – Nashville CVC
Butch Spyridon and the Nashville CVC routinely delivers amazing artists and Lady Antebellum’s performance during the Classic at the 2015 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Music City truly was a classic.

Weezer – Los Angeles TCB
HOTS has seen Weezer in D.C. twice and both times rocked. The Los Angeles TCB certainly has plenty of options but for HOTS is Weezer is the perfect representation of a melodious and energetic Pacific vibe.
Dave Matthews Band – Visit Charlottesville
Perpetually touring DMB delivers a liver performance few other acts can match.
This HOTS written by Todd McElwee


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