President's Column: December 2013

Hello all:
It’s a wrap. We’re putting the bow on another successful year at BATW – and it’s time to toast our achievements.
The biggest accomplishment, in my mind, is BATW’s new system for credentialing. Early in the year, the Board – with wise counsel from Suzie Rodriguez and Tom Wilmer – crafted new criteria for membership and a process for credentialing. The system establishes a standard of credibility that is now recognized by CVBs, PR associates, media outlets, event hosts and our peers.
A documented history of BATW has been on our list for quite some time, and this year we got our wish. Founding member Patricia Lee traced each baby step BATW has taken since the early 1980s to write a compelling history of our organization. She gives thanks to Marian Sanders, Monica Conrady and Jim Gebbie for their help in reconstructing those early years when a handful of members met in each other’s homes.
Our monthly meetings continue to be one of our biggest drawing cards, thanks to outgoing Program Chair Erin Caslavka. Erin has shown great creativity and leadership, especially with her suggestion that each Board member spearhead a meeting. This has spawned a new spirit of collaboration between Board members and the General membership and Associate partners.
Retiring Board member Georgia Hesse elevated the status of BATW, this year, by reaching out to some of the world’s most esteemed travel writers. Tim Cahill, John Flinn, Don George, Spud Hilton and Pico Iyer have graciously accepted our offer of Honorary membership in BATW.
These are just a few of our 2013 highlights. Honestly, the mind boggles when I think of all the hard work that has gone into this organization. With some 200 members and a balanced budget, we continue to be a highly relevant and respected organization in one of the world’s great travel destinations. We’ll miss our retiring Board members Georgia Hesse, Erin Caslavka, Lakshman Ratnapala and our go-to guy for all things tech-related, Marc Longwood. Please give them a heartfelt thanks for their service.
Ginny Prior, BATW President

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