Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) appointed David Whitaker president and CEO. Although Whitaker was most recently president and CEO for Choose Chicago, this marks his return to South Florida. He previously worked at GMCVB for 17 years, in roles such as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Before Choose Chicago, Whitaker was president and CEO for Destination Toronto (formerly Tourism Toronto), during which the DMO was voted North America’s best CVB and convention center in a poll of more than 650 meeting planners.
See the best DMOs of 2021: Smart Stars 2021: Happy to See Your Face Again
“[Whitaker] brings back to us a rare and powerful combination—an immense wealth of experience and knowledge of our community, coupled with a significant world of experiences gained from promoting two of North America’s most diverse and global brands in Chicago and Toronto,” said Bruce Orosz, GMCVB chairman.
Under Whitaker’s leadership, Chicago was voted Best Big City by Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards from 2017-2020.
“I am honored, thrilled and blessed to have the opportunity to return home,” Whitaker said.
He is coming back to an expanding Miami. Miami International Airport (MIA) has recently welcomed Spirit Airlines, with its first flights scheduled for October, and has seen a recent expansion by its dominant carrier, American Airlines. During the pandemic, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue also began service to Miami.
The 1.4 million-square-foot Miami Beach Convention Center finished an expansion in late 2020. The expansion includes an additional 127,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 60,000-square-foot ballroom. The project transformed more than six acres of parking lot into a public park; 12 acres of greenspace and more than 1,300 new trees have been added. The completed project earned the convention center LEED Silver certification.