Welcome 2023 – Feeling Good and Preparing for Take-Off!

January 12, 2023

Let’s skip the platitudes – it feels good to travel again. It’s finally OK to say it, without feeling guilty, even as the pandemic becomes more of a pesky pebble in our shoe than a bear trap on our leg. Last year was one of ups and downs, as most years are, but I can’t help but feel a more constant upward swing. It may just be that the past couple of years were so dark that positivity feels stronger than before, but it’s also something that we can see with our own eyes.

Travel and tourism are back.

Flights are up, cruises are continuing, destinations are thriving, and people are spending their hard earned money on experiencing the world yet again. Plus, America finally got what we’ve been asking of Santa for decades, an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism at the U.S. Department of Commerce. From a marketing perspective, however, we’re not back to the way things were, and, let’s be clear, that’s something to celebrate. After two years of the pandemic combined with countless other challenges, we’re looking back and realizing that we’re operating differently and, ultimately, better than before.

Expanded Focus 

At DCI, we launched our talent attraction practice, underscoring the need to focus more on local communities. As much as we’re focused on tourism and economic development, we knew that talent attraction was the logical next step for DCI to help our clients achieve their full potential. There are countless hospitality jobs that remain unfilled in communities around the world, along with roles in bio engineering and manufacturing. If you happen to have a daughter with good instincts who loves to travel, currently considering what career to pursue, commercial pilots will be in demand for the next decade.

DEI Confirmed

Our push for diversity, equity and inclusion is now as much a part of the conversation as airport renovations and restaurant openings. I’m proud and, dare I say, relieved that these important efforts are far more commonplace within the tourism space. From hiring practices to client relations, we at DCI keep DEI at the forefront of everything we do, and that won’t ever change because our staff are committed to carrying the mantle. That’s when you know a commitment to something important has created a cultural shift that is permanent.

Working Smarter

We’re back to traveling for events, but are keenly aware that hybrid interactions and videoconferencing are permanently part of the picture – which isn’t bad when we want to work remotely for a few weeks. DCI has embraced it and even have most of our destination clients.

Those are just some of the permanent changes that we’re taking into 2023 with us. Our team and clients are settled into these new work patterns and it feels good to be somewhat on the other side of a few especially dark years.

More than anything, all of this innovation and change has made us hungry for more innovation. It’s inevitable, and working with marketers who know this is the only way for destinations – no matter their goals – to achieve them efficiently.

I’m eager to see what new challenges will face us in 2023, though I’ll be the first to say that I hope they don’t require face masks or social distancing. Political turmoil, economic downturn, and environmental disasters have always been some of our biggest rivals, but if we learned anything last year, it’s that our industry is always ready to swerve and maneuver as needed to keep travelers moving. DCI will continue to be making sure its clients have their gears greased and their wheels rotated ready to redirect as needed.

And on a personal note, DCI will continue to celebrate travel in all of its forms, constantly working to remind the world how our industry connects people, bolsters local communities, and breaks down stereotypes. For all my fellow travelers out there who are constantly chasing the thrill of new places, new sights, and new people, I’m happy to say you’re not alone. I went to quite a few new places in 2022 – Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka among them – and I can’t wait to see where my 2023 travels take me.

It’s a beautiful industry that we’re part of, but as we go into this new year, let’s always remember that we can do better, and DCI’s team will always be ready to contribute to positive change in any way we can.

So here’s a toast to 2022 – thanks for not being the worst – and here’s to 2023 – the bar has been set very low, but we’re still expecting great things!

Written by

Karyl Leigh Barnes

President, Tourism Practice