The VisitDallas President & CEO shares his Dallas favorites.
Posted on Apr 16, 2021 By Diana Trujillo
Over the next few weeks and months we'll introduce you to the VisitDallas team that makes meetings, conventions and events in Dallas happen. Get to know them – and recognize their faces – for your next visit to Dallas.
Next up: VisitDallas President & CEO Craig Davis.
Tell us about yourself, Craig.
I was born in Canada, and an opportunity in the hospitality industry brought me to the U.S. After four years in the hotel business in Toronto, I moved to Chicago and then Pittsburgh. After spending almost 20 years at Visit Pittsburgh, I joined VisitDallas in January 2020.
I love my new Texas home and really enjoy playing the part of tourist; each week I explore more and more of this beautiful city. My hobbies are travel (naturally), golf, and aviation. I earned my private pilot's license in 2018 and am currently completing my Instrument Rating to add to my certifications.
What are some of your favorite Dallas spots?
Even though much of the time I've spent in Dallas has been during quarantine, I feel I and my family are lucky to live in a great neighborhood that offers incredible opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, stroll, and dine. We're close to the action in the Bishop Arts District and love the patio at Gloria's Latin Cuisine. Taco Y Vino and Stock & Barrel are other favorites of ours.
We also frequently enjoy Terrilli's on Greenville Avenue. It's a down-to-earth local gem – and really special.
What has surprised you the most about Dallas?
Coming from Canada, I didn't think the culture of niceness could be any stronger than what I experienced growing up – and I was so wrong. Dallas – this city and its people – have blown me away with kindness and support. We've made so many close friends here in a very short time, and it really speaks to the culture of this city. Simply said, it's the way of life here!
A lot of things are looking up this year, with more people getting vaccinated and traveler sentiment on the rise. What are you looking forward to in the months ahead?
More than anything, I'm very excited to see my colleagues in the hospitality industry, particularly those that work in hotels and live events, returning to work. I know our partners in the live events world are ready to get back to work, and our industry will be stronger than ever.
Tell us about one of your favorite Dallas experiences so far.
In the first few months living here, we were invited by Joanna Saint Angelo, the Executive Director at Sammons Center for the Arts, to experience an intimate performance of local jazz artists. We really got a taste of the Dallas arts scene that night and were so excited to experience the vast arts community in this city. We met two couples at separate times that evening who have now become close friends.
Shifting gears– tell us why is Dallas is great for meetings and those traveling here for conventions?
There are several reasons that come to mind. Our convention center is one of the largest footprints in the nation, and ideal for hosting important business meetings and sporting events!
Another is access to Dallas. We're located in the middle of the country, and our airports (DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field) provide ideal access from anywhere in the country within four hours or less; perfect for travelers from all around the U.S. and the world.
And I can't answer this question without addressing some of the key attractors to Dallas: our weather is wonderful for a good portion of the year and provides ample opportunities to enjoy parks, patios and sunny days. Plus, our attractions and arts and culture offerings rank among the best in the nation. You can truly experience a lot during your free time away from work.
What makes Dallas unique from other destinations?
The people here – that's our unique identifier. Dallasites are warm and friendly people, and the folks who work the front line of our hospitality industry make a great first impression . They are likely some of the first people that you'll encounter when you arrive to Dallas, whether it's someone helping you with luggage outside of the airport or greeting you at the front lobby of your hotel. Our locals make this city great.