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Tourism director gets highest industry honor

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Cheryl Thorp, Executive Director of the Platte County - KCI Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, has earned the highest educational achievement in the convention and visitor bureau industry.

Thorp completed an intensive educational program in order to receive the Certified Destination Management Executive designation. The announcement was made at the 88th Annual Convention of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The CDME program is offered under the guidance of the World Tourism Management Centre at The University of Calgary, in collaboration with Purdue University and the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

CDME is an advanced educational program for veteran and career-minded CVB executives who are looking for senior-level professional development courses. The main challenge of the program is to prepare senior executives and managers of destination management organizations for increasing change and competition. CDME graduates must be re-certified every five years to maintain their industry designation.

“The process for earning this designation required a three-year commitment from Cheryl,” Platte County Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight said. “Her dedication to our citizens and to furthering the county’s tourism industry is exemplified by this accomplishment.”

Founded in 1914, the IACVB represents more than 1,200 professionals in about 500 convention and visitor bureaus worldwide. Its mission is to enhance the professionalism, effectiveness, and image of destination management organizations worldwide.

The focus of the CDME program is on vision, leadership, productivity and implementing business strategies.

Demonstrating the value of a destination team and improving personal performance through effective organizational and industry leadership are the outcomes.

Thorp, director of the county’s convention and visitors bureau since 1997, is one of only 68 CDME’s in the world and the first from the state of Missouri.

“The opportunity to participate in the CDME program is just one of ways the Platte County Commission has demonstrated its support and commitment to the county’s tourism program and I am most appreciative,” Thorp said.

Since 1997 Platte County has moved from eleventh to ninth in the state for direct tourist expenditures that totaled more than $162 million in 2001. More than 13% of the jobs in Platte County are tourism related.

For more information, please contact Kevin Kuzma, Platte County Public Affairs Coordinator, at (816) 858-1906.