• 75°

Boe & Harvey earn tourism industry’s highest educational achievement

LAPLACE —Buddy Boe and Wilma Harvey of the River Parishes Tourist Commission recently earned the tourism industry’s highest individual educational achievement.

Boe and Harvey were recognized for earning the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation, the only integrated executive program specifically designed for the destination management industry.

The program is designed to better prepare senior destination organization professionals to become more effective organizational and community leaders through its focus on vision, leadership, productivity and the implementation of business strategies. It also teaches professionals to identify and respond to the constant change and increasing competition in the industry.

This year’s CDME class was recognized during Destinations International’s Annual Convention, which was held virtually from July 14-15.

Boe is the executive director of the River Parishes Tourist Commission, while Harvey is the director of sales and business development.

Board Chair Garrett Monti said this achievement will help RPTC find innovative solutions to navigate this critical time for the tourism industry.

“COVID-19 has crippled the tourism and hospitality industry in the River Parishes and across our state, but we knew that our team needed to adapt our skillset to a constantly-changing industry quickly,” Monti said. “Over the next several months and perhaps the next three to five years, we must think of innovative solutions to assist in our industry’s recovery. The Commission will need out of the box ideas, and this training will allow our leadership team to tap into those solutions moving forward. We are extremely proud of Buddy and Wilma in leading these efforts.”

While it is an honor to earn the CDME Certification, Harvey said the true benefits are the lessons learned that will strengthen the River Parishes brand.

“We have made significant strides to position the River Parishes as a popular visitor destination, and the professional development and leadership training will reinforce our efforts to position the region as a prime visitor destination not only in the state but nationally and internationally,” Harvey said.

Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, said leaders with the CDME certification are now equipped with the knowledge needed to adapt to and manage the increasing change and competition facing the tourism industry.

Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau and the CDME board chair, agreed that tourism leaders must know how to adapt.

“The communities that we serve can’t afford to stand still, and neither can we as destination leaders,” Gast said. “The CDME program pushes us to ‘think beyond our mandate and act beyond our tenure’ and to see our roles in our communities’ viability as something much bigger, and something much more integral to the community fabric.”

The River Parishes Tourist Commission is the official destination and marketing organization and driving force for tourism in St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes. The organization offers assistance to visitors, advocates for its stakeholders, and stimulates the region’s economic growth.

For more information about Louisiana’s River Parishes, please visit LARiverParishes.com.

Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitor’s bureaus and tourism boards. For more information about CDME or Destinations International, visit destinationsinternational.org.