Celebrate: It's 2010 National Travel and Tourism Week

It’s your turn to shine! Under the theme of "Stand Up and Be Counted," 35 cities across the country will participate in Travel Rally Day on Tuesday, May 11 to highlight the important contributions of the travel industry and its employees to local economies, the U.S. Travel Association reports. The reason: the kick off of the 2010 National Travel and Tourism Week that begins May 8. The program is part of U.S. Travel’s welcomed and timely effort to generate one million industry advocates in its newly launched "Power of Travel" coalition.

"The launch of the Power of Travel Coalition represents an industry awakening" said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. The 10 million employees whose jobs depend on travel are passionate about the value of travel to support local communities and our economy and they are prepared to mobilize. The travel industry is represented in every congressional district in America. The Power of Travel coalition will enable us to instantly educate and activate travel industry employees and vendors on a moment's notice when their industry needs them most."

The Power of Travel coalition will enable U.S. Travel to build a grassroots army of 1 million travel industry advocates to:

*    Tell the story of why travel matters to employees, vendors, policymakers and communities.
*    Increase travel to and within the United States by removing barriers to travel and preventing harmful legislation.
*    And demonstrate the power of travel by highlighting voices of the travel community in local and national media.

New 2009 data reaffirms travel as a critical engine of the American economy:

*    Direct spending by domestic and international travelers generated $704 billion in the nation's economy last year.
*    The industry represents one of America's largest employers, accounting for more than 10 million direct and indirect jobs.
*    Though the travel workforce has declined as a result of the prolonged recession, the industry expects to add 90,000 new American jobs in travel this year due to modest gains.
*    U.S. Travel projects domestic travel will be up 2 percent over last year, and international arrivals are expected to increase nearly 3 percent over 2009.

In addition to the Rally Day activities, AOL Travel is recognizing National Travel and Tourism Week by partnering with the U.S. Travel Association and dozens of U.S. travel organizations to create the Explore America galleries: http://news.travel.aol.com/explore-america. AOL is challenging readers to select the "Seven Travel Wonders of the United States" to celebrate great American destinations.

Visit www.ustravel.org.


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