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Summit Attendees Discover ‘Renaissance of Appreciation for Tourism’

May 18, 2012

For the 70-plus tourism professionals who gathered in Washington, D.C., last week for the Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit (including 45 NTA members), the mood was positive and the meetings were productive. The tourism industry has gained prominence in Washington this year, beginning with President Obama’s executive order in January that called for a national strategy to increase tourism and created the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

"This is the kind of awareness we have dreamt about for years," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon and chairman of the TTAB. "We’re experiencing a renaissance of appreciation for tourism from all levels of government." Davidson also spoke about the significance of tourism as a job creator. During the same session, Joel Secundy of Brand USA discussed the organization’s global marketing campaign.

Todd’s positive sentiment was later echoed by Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, who spoke at the Congressional Tourism Leaders Luncheon. "Some time ago, we didn’t have a lot of friends up here. But through the efforts of NTA and others, we’re really gaining on it," Dow said. "All of us working together make a huge, huge difference."

Luncheon attendees, including members of NTA, Southeast Tourism Society and Destination Marketing Association International, also heard from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). During the next two days Summit-goers spoke with more legislators and their staff during 100 scheduled appointments on Capitol Hill.

On the final day of the Summit, NTA President Lisa Simon joined other industry leaders in a session with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Rep. Farr and Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) for a dialogue about the National Travel &Tourism Strategy just prior to the document’s public release.

To join a discussion about the national strategy and its next steps, you can participate in an industrywide conference call, sponsored by U.S. Travel, on Wednesday, May 16, at 3 p.m. EDT. The dial-in number is (866) 200-6965, and the passcode is 89918667#. Click here to RSVP.

To see photos from the Summit, including pictures taken during a reception at the Cuban Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy, follow this link to Facebook.

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