KJK’s Jon Pinney Discusses Cleveland’s Future at Destination Cleveland’s Annual Meeting

August 14, 2021
Destination Cleveland 2021 Annual Meeting Jon Pinney speaker
Destination Cleveland, the city’s non-profit convention and visitor’s bureau, held its annual meeting on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 at the Cleveland Zoo. There, community stakeholders and guests listened to a presentation by Destination Cleveland President David Gilbert and Board Chair Jon Pinney. Pinney serves as KJK’s Managing Partner.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic’s impact on Cleveland’s tourism industry has been substantial, with about 5 million fewer visitors coming to the city in 2020 and a $7.1 billion decrease in visitor spending. Nonetheless, Gilbert and Pinney’s tone was optimistic as they outlined the efforts that Destination Cleveland has taken and will take in the future to support the tourism industry and alleviate the pandemic’s impact.

  • Nearly $2 million allocated in restaurant stabilization grants
  • Regained $174 million in tourism dollars by rescheduling postponed events
  • Distributed 200,000 CLEAN COMMITTED Cleanliness Kits to encourage visitors to engage with the community safely

Gilbert also discussed the creation of a racial equity taskforce to make the “Cleveland brand more inclusive,” highlight entrepreneurs of color, and ensure that Destination Cleveland reflects the makeup of the local community.

The city also has a long way to go in raising its profile for potential future visitors, as many don’t see Cleveland as an ideal destination to visit. Nevertheless, Gilbert revealed that those that visit Cleveland are 32% more likely to view the city as a place to work and live, and thanks to the work of Destination Cleveland, 36% of millennials are now willing to consider a Cleveland a place to live and work (up from 14% previously).

Gilbert closed by welcoming community collaborators and stakeholders to submit feedback and suggestions directly to Destination Cleveland.

KJK has a history being committed to helping Cleveland businesses thrive. Read more about our Economic Development practice group here. Restauranteurs should visit our Restaurant & Hospitality practice group or view our Restaurant & Hospitality thought leadership here. Jon Pinney can be reached at jjp@kjk.com.

You can view all remarks from DC’s 2021 Annual Meeting below.