December 16: A Letter From NATJA’s CEO

Dear NATJA Family:
As 2021 comes to an end, I can’t help but feel grateful for all of you. This year has been challenging but we have all stayed connected and supportive of one another.
Thank you to our Advisory Board as they continue to set NATJA’s course. Our Advisory Board is led by Co-Chairs Francesca Donlan (Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel) and Tim Leffel, and includes Vickie Ashford (Greater Birmingham CVB), Nancy Besharah, Jo Duncan (The Beenders Walker Group), Kathryn Farrington (Discover Newport), Tonya Fitzpatrick, Barbara Golden (St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau), Helen Hatzis, Rob Jerome, Jeffrey Lehmann, Barbara Marrett, Troy Petenbrink, Gustavo Rivas-Solis (ENroute Communications), Shelly Rivoli, Colby Sharples-Terry (Kansas Tourism), and Charles Winters (Huntsville/Madison County CVB).
Thanks to our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee, Vickie Ashford (Greater Birmingham CVB), Nancy Besharah, Peter Distefano, Francesca Donlan (Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel), Tonya Fitzpatrick, Ian Fitzpatrick, Arnold Jones, Don Mankin, Terri Marshall, Gustavo Rivas-Solis (ENroute Communications), Lucy Tobias, Cory Lee, and Troy Petenbrink, for their efforts to create awareness of the challenges many people face and for promoting a more equitable and inclusive landscape in the travel journalism and travel and tourism industries.
Many thanks to our members that participated in our Conference Planning Committee, Suzie Dundas, Helen Hatzis, Betsi Hill, Gustavo Rivas-Solis, and Barbara Marrett, who were instrumental in helping us organize our very first virtual conference.
We are grateful to our DMO members for hanging in there during another difficult year. Travel is bouncing back, and the future looks brighter than one year ago.
TravelWorld International Magazine would not be the same without editor Joy Bushmeyer, who creates one of the most beautiful online publications. She is a wonderful asset to our team. Thank you for all you do.
Lastly, we would not be here without our amazing staff: Yani Leon, Ben Root, Omar Rodriguez, and Natalia Najera. None of what we do would happen without their support, attention to the membership, and commitment to NATJA.
You have made this a wonderful organization and I am so very proud to be its leader.
My sincerest best wishes to all of you for a safe and happy holiday season.
Here’s to a healthier and more prosperous 2022!
Warmest regards,
Helen Hernandez

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