MATPRA's History

2002                The seed for MATPRA is planted during an informal discussion at the PRSA            
                       Travel and Tourism Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. by Founder, Mindy  
                       Bianca, of the Maryland Tourism Office.
                       The first meeting of what would become MATPRA is held near Baltimore, with
                       35 to 40 attendees. Did you know that one of the original names considered  
                       for the group was the Special Mid-Atlantic Regional Tourism Public Relations
                       Officers (SMART-PRO’s!)
2003                The “common threads” group agrees to call itself Mid-Atlantic tourism Public
                       Relations Alliance following Rand McNally’s definition of the region,
                       encompassing Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware,
                       Washington D.C. and New Jersey.

                       West Virginia joins alliance.
                       The alliance finalizes its mission statement in July: The Mid-Atlantic Tourism
                       Public Relations Alliance is a cohesive unit of regional tourism partners
                       encompassing Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and
                       Washington, D.C. The groups serves travel journalists by creating regional
                       resources that ignores geographical boundaries. The alliance promotes
                       common threads and offers saleable stories to journalists about the Mid-
                       Atlantic destination as a whole.
                       Valley Forge, PA CVB establishes the website
                       under the alliance name.
                       MATPRA distributes its first group news release nationally.
2004                First slate of MATPRA officers elected
                       West Virginia establishes MATPRA web site and e-mail discussion group
                       through Yahoo.
                       Inaugural MATPRA Media Marketplace is held in Washington, D.C. at the
                       Mandarin Oriental with 34 destinations participating. Journalists are invited
                       to participate in a post-Marketplace FAM while DMO’s attend professional
                       development panel.
                       Membership required was institued that members must must attend at least  
                       one meeting per year to be considered active.
                       Decided to add a professional development speaker to quarterly meetings.
2005                Members voted to grant Mindy Bianca, MATPRA founder full membership and
                       Member Emeritus status.
2006                Pennsylvania Dutch Country CVB hosts third MATPRA Media Marketplace and
                       event is extended to include three overnight stays and expanded FAM tour
                       options which would be attended by both journalists and DMO’s.
2007                Connie Yingling with Maryland Tourism meets with Attorney General to
                       discuss MATPRA becoming legal. Connie and Janene Charbeneau with Visit
                       Richmond lay groundwork to incorporate MATPRA.
2008                MATPRA is officially incorporated in State of Virginia.
2010                MATPRA purchases insurance for officers.
2012                MATPRA votes to move to a paid membership organization to build funds in
                       an effort to offset the overall marketing of the organization including
                       website updates and strategic visioning for the future.
                       MATPRA communications move to LinkedIn, replacing the Yahoo! account.

                       MATPRA launches a revised website.


Board of Directors - Chairmen

2004-05      Mindy Bianca
                 Maryland Office of Tourism

2005-06      Matt Turner
                 West Virginia Div. of Tourism

2006-07      Julie Donovan
                 Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau

2007-08      Janene Charbeneau
                 Richmond Metropolitan CVB

2008-09     Connie Yingling
                 Maryland Office of Tourism

2009-10     Cara O’Donnell
                 Pennsylvania State Tourism

2010-11     Lyn Lewis
                Greater Wilmington CVB

2011-12     Joyce Baki
                Calvert County of Econ. Devel.

2012-14    Alicia Quinn
               Pocono Mtns Visitors Bureau

2014-15    Carl Whitehill
                Destination Gettysburg

2015-16    Monee Cottman
                Visit Baltimore

2016-17    Leslie Troy
                Maryland Office of Tourism