Culp Receives NTA Advocacy Award
April 10, 2013
Patti A. Culp received NTA’s James D. Santini Award for legislative advocacy on behalf of the tourism industry. Culp was honored at a luncheon today in Washington, D.C., during Destination: Capitol Hill, where NTA members have gathered with hundreds of industry colleagues to promote travel and tourism legislation to members of Congress.
Culp became a registered lobbyist in 1980 and has served for 35 years as the executive director of the Alabama Travel Council. She leads a delegation of tourism professionals from her state each year during the NTA advocacy event.
“I believe that state and federal advocacy from a grassroots perspective is imperative to the success of our industry, whether it’s to extend our school year or protect our state tourism department’s budget,” Culp said. “It’s our responsibility to let our voices be heard.”
Culp is the longest-serving senior executive of any state travel organization, said Steve Richer, NTA’s public affairs advocate, who works with Culp on behalf of the association.
“Patti epitomizes a state-level leader who knows how to effectively bring our message to her Congressional delegation,” said Richer. “Every time her Alabama tourism delegation participates with NTA, they find a way to meet with every member of Congress-both House and Senate-from Alabama.”
NTA’s legislative priorities include:
- passage of the JOLT Act (Jobs Originating through Launching Travel),
- continuation of the survey of international travelers arriving by air,
- reauthorization of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which created the Brand USA,
- reauthorization of the highway trust fund and
- adequate funding for public lands and national parks.
Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, also praised Culp. “Patti is an exceptional example of putting grassroots advocacy in action,” he said. “We congratulate Patti on her outstanding recognition as the recipient of this year’s James D. Santini Award and applaud her for her continued contributions to travel and tourism at the state, regional and national level.”
The James D. Santini award recognizes NTA members who have made long-term, significant contributions to the association’s advocacy efforts. Santini, who was NTA’s legislative counsel for 25 years, served four terms in the United States Congress as the only member of the House of Representatives from Nevada. He was a founder and the first secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus in the House.
“Jim has always been my mentor, and his advice and counseling have helped hundreds of NTA members feel comfortable and capable on the Hill.” Culp said. “I could not be more honored to receive the Santini Award.”
In 2012, Culp chaired the Government Relations Committee of NTA, the leading association for professionals serving travelers to, from and within North America.