Don Welsh, CEO of Choose Chicago, is leaving his post to head Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). He has been named president and CEO of the Washington DC-based tourism organization.

“After a thorough search process that included a stellar group of candidates, we are thrilled that Don has accepted this position,” stated Bob Lander, chairman of DMAI board of directors and CEO of Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are confident that he will lead DMAI in becoming the premier trade association for destination marketing organizations both in the U.S. and globally.”

Welsh has more than 35 years of experience in the tourism industry. Before he headed Choose Chicago, which has undergone financial setbacks in the last year, Welsh was CEO of Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau and Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. He also served at Westin Hotels, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

“I am incredibly proud of what the Choose Chicago team and Chicago’s visitor industry have accomplished in just five years. Chicago is experiencing an unprecedented travel boom that promises to deliver immense economic benefits,” said Welsh.

While this is a bittersweet day for me and my family, I remain 100 percent confident in the Choose Chicago leadership team to continue to move this industry forward. Opportunities such as this don’t come along often, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. I share Bob’s vision to elevate DMAI to the next level and I look forward to working alongside my global counterparts in one of the fastest growing segments within the global economy.”

DMAI is a professional organization that represents destination marketing organizations and convention and visitor bureaus around the world. It provides resources for more than 4,200 destination professionals from more than 600 locations in approximately 15 countries.