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Crabb, Durant Earn Esteemed Tourism Industry Accreditation 

            LEE ISLAND COAST, FL – Mark Crabb, deputy director, and Judi Durant, visitor and community relations manager for the Lee Island Coast Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) in southwest Florida, recently graduated from the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus’ (IACVB) executive program in destination management at the association’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

            The Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) program was established in 1993 and is recognized as the tourism industry’s highest educational achievement.  The program is accredited by IACVB and jointly offered by the World Tourism Management Research Center at the University of Calgary and Purdue University.

            “With the tourism marketplace continuously changing and increasingly competitive, earning the CDME designation is an important achievement,” said D.T. Minich, VCB executive director and 1998 CDME graduate.  “The VCB and the Lee County Tourist Development Council are proud of this accomplishment from Mark and Judi and their commitment to our organization.”

            Crabb replaced Minich as deputy director in February 2002, who was promoted to VCB executive director in November 2000.  A seasoned tourism professional, Crabb assists in strategic planning and directing the VCB’s various activities and programs, such as marketing and sales initiatives, as well as involvement in the creation, implementation, and supervision of tourism promotions, advertising, and hospitality services for both the domestic and international markets.

After joining the VCB as visitor services coordinator in 1996, Durant’s sharp customer service-oriented skills helped her achieve the current position of visitor and community relations manager.  Her primary responsibility is coordinating a staff of approximately 100 volunteers to welcome and inform arriving visitors at Southwest Florida International Airport and Visit Florida state welcome centers.  Durant also oversees the VCB’s visitor assistance program that provides varying types of aid for travelers with emergencies.  Other duties include coordinating the VCB’s Guests First customer service training program, which was developed to benefit the local hospitality industry and allied businesses, and the “E” Awards program, responsible for recognizing excellence in customer service.

            The CDME program focuses on vision, leadership, and business strategy implementation.  Senior executives and managers of destinations take such courses as Strategic Issues in Destination Management, Destination Marketing Planning, Destination Leadership, Destination Information and Research, Festivals and Events Tourism, International Tourism and Convention Marketing, Destination Financial Management, Communication and Technology, and Rural and Small Community Destination Management.  In addition, the program requires four research papers. 

            In 1999, VCB Sales Director Pamela Johnson received the CDME designation, while Senior Sales Manager Gary Ewen earned IACVB’s certification in Tourism Marketing.  Other VCB staff members are currently enrolled in IACVB’s various educational programs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lee Island Coast is located on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida and includes Sanibel/Captiva/Pine islands, Fort Myers Beach, historic Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Estero, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, and Lehigh Acres.  For more information, visit our Web site at