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Industry Briefs

Tourism Industry Veteran, David Whitaker, Returning Home to Miami

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) announced recently that David Whitaker has been appointed the next President & CEO of the destination marketing organization (DMO) for Greater Miami and Miami Beach. The appointment is a homecoming for Whitaker who served as a member of the GMCVB team for 17 years (1990 - 2007), most recently as the organization's Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer.  Five years prior to that, he served on the executive staff of the United Way of Miami-Dade.

Whitaker left Miami initially in 2007 due to an appointment to the role of President & CEO of Tourism Toronto (now known as Destination Toronto), the DMO for Toronto, where he led the organization for eight years. During his tenure in Toronto, the organization was voted North America's top convention and visitors bureau and convention center in a poll of over 650 meeting planners. Whitaker led successful bids to host an NBA All-Star Game and a Pan American/Parapan American Game.

Upon conclusion of his tenure in Toronto and over the past five years, Whitaker has served as the President & CEO of Choose Chicago, the DMO for Chicago where he had the responsibility of promoting and selling the largest convention center in the United States, McCormick Place. Under his leadership, the DMO successfully bid on and hosted numerous top tier international events and the destination was voted Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards as "Best Big City" to visit for an unprecedented four consecutive years (2017 - 2020), all of which occurred under Whitaker's leadership.

Whitaker was selected at the conclusion of a comprehensive six-month national executive search conducted by a specially appointed 14-member search committee comprised of local business and community leaders who reflect Miami-Dade County's ethnic, racial, gender and sexual orientation diversity, as well as the diversity of certain associations and industries in Miami-Dade County, particularly the hospitality industry.

Whitaker will formally assume the role of President and CEO, August 16, 2021, but is expected to be formally introduced to the community at large at the GMCVB's annual meeting held in October 2021.  Bill Talbert, the GMCVB's current President is anticipated to remain employed by the GMCVB in a consultancy capacity until October 2022 to assist Whitaker with transition matters.