In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

When we last spoke, Elizabeth Tovar gave me three pieces of advice:

  1. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) must transform.
  2. Tourism must be more relevant to the local economy.
  3. We need to find the right visitors for the right reasons.

Elizabeth is a remarkable leader with an even more remarkable history. She was born in Venezuela and educated in Florence, Italy. In early adulthood, she was a semi-pro golfer. Now, she’s a pilot, a serial entrepreneur, and one of the most engaging and magnetic people you will ever meet.

In 1992, Tovar co-founded the Turenlaces del Caribe, SRL, in the Dominican Republic to stratify the meetings industry in the Caribbean. “What I love about the meetings industry is the economic spread that goes right down to the smallest players,” she said. 
Today, she also serves as the President of the Federation of Congress Organizing Entities of Latin America (COCAL). When she looks at building back and building up the meetings industry in Latin America, she looks at building back better. 

“I think we have been blinded by the fact that we count our success on headcounts.  We're very successful because as an island of 48,000 square kilometers, we get 6 million people, but I think we have never sat back and analyzed what we're getting in return,” Tovar said. “I think we should reevaluate, first of all, the return on investment. Secondly, the damage of mass tourism in our country. And thirdly, what is it that we're worth.”

Foretold is forewarned — wise words from an equally wise leader who cares very much about the Dominican Republic and the tourism and meetings industry across Latin America.