Christopher L. Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, will receive the Pioneer Award from the National Tour Association Jan. 22 at the association’s 2015 convention, Travel Exchange, in New Orleans.
Also being honored by NTA are Suzanne Slavitter and Steve Richer, each of whom will receive the Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Pioneer Award recognizes an individual whose accomplishments produced a significant change in the travel industry from which NTA and its members have benefited. Thompson’s leadership fits the bill, according to NTA president Pam Inman.
In the two years Thompson has led Brand USA, contributions to the public-private organization have increased from $60 million in 2012 to more than $130 million in 2013 and 2014, and the number of international offices has risen from four to 12. In 2013, Brand USA’s marketing efforts generated 1.1 million international visitors over the growth that would have occurred without Brand USA’s initiatives, NTA said.
Slavitter and Richer’s award recognizes longtime professional and personal contributions, NTA said.
Slavitter has advanced the packaged-travel industry in both sports and special-event tours as co-owner of Lakewood, Calif.-based Sports Empire Inc. and Red Hot Celebrations.
Richer held the top post with the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the Greater Atlantic City CVB and the Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB. From 2007 to 2014, Richer was NTA's public affairs advocate, based in Washington, D.C.
NTA will honor Thompson, Slavitter and Richer during a Jan. 22 luncheon at Travel Exchange, Jan. 18–22.