Our Upcoming Show
Join us this Sunday, August 1 @ 11:00 a.m. EST as Marc Garcia, President & CEO of Visit Mesa shares the journey this Arizona community took to become the world’s first Autism Certified City, and where he believes the travel and hospitality industry can make improvements in areas of accessibility. Carl Ribaudo, President & Chief Strategist for SMG Consulting, reveals new data from SMG’s “Tourism Insight Poll.” Brad Toll, President & CEO of Discover Green Bay is moving ahead with a new $6.5 million visitor center, and explains, why. Roy Van Doorn, Charlottesville chapter president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association has a few interesting, local insights about tourism in the Charlottesville area. And, Dave Bratton at Destination Analysts shares the latest traveler sentiments.
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Marc Garcia is President and CEO of Visit Mesa, the destination marketing and management organization for the City of Mesa, Arizona and the surrounding region. Immediately after joining the DMO in June 2012, after fifteen years at Visit Phoenix, Garcia prioritized a rebranding effort for the organization which included a corporate repositioning to Visit Mesa. In 2019, Garcia led the organization to become the nation’s first autism-certified destination marketing organization – via the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – an initiative that hits close to home as a father of a seven year-old son on the autism spectrum. This nationwide achievement sets Mesa aside as a leader in the burgeoning sector of the industry, ability travel. Visit Mesa shepherded over 4,000 people from other Mesa businesses including the parks department, Chamber of Commerce, fire and police departments, and many hospitality industry partners to achieve this same status on a larger quest which established Mesa as the United States’ first-ever Autism Certified City per IBCCES.
Under Garcia’s tenure, Visit Mesa has leveraged regional partner assets by working alongside leaders in the neighboring community of Queen Creek, the iconic attractions along the Apache Trail, Arizona’s Native American enterprises, and the adventure wonderland of the Tonto National Forest to help expand the Mesa visitor experience. This destination positioning, trademarked as City Limitless, established Visit Mesa as the visitor industry leader and steward for the Southwest Valley of Maricopa County. These regional partners are also embracing the autism awareness movement with the Town of Queen Creek recently completing their certification.
Mark Garcia has been named “Most Influential in Valley Tourism” in 2020 and “Top 40 Most Influential Phoenicians” in 2019 by Arizona Foothills Magazine, and “Tourism Manager of the Year” for 2019 by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association.
In addition, Garcia serves on the boards of; U.S. Travel Association, Destination Marketing Association of the West, International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, Travel Ability Advisory Board, Arizona Lodging & Travel Association, Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mesa United Way, and Mesa Sister Cities.
Garcia earned his B.A. in Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He and his wife, Jennifer, are parents to three children.