Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, urged creation of a new national agenda to strengthen the future of the $460 billion meetings and events industry. Ralenkotter issued the call to action as he began his term as chairman of the U.S. Travel Association.
"Meetings and conventions are a major driver of the economy in every community across America, supporting more than six million jobs for American workers," said Ralenkotter. "We need to support and strengthen this industry by establishing a new agenda for change that promotes the value of business travel to the economy and to corporate bottom lines."
At a symposium with major meeting planners and associations, Ralenkotter released a new white paper identifying three major trends that will impact the future of the meetings industry: perceived availability of new technology and substitutes for face-to-face meetings; pressure to cut costs in business and government agencies; and increasing challenges to long haul travel. A copy of the paper can be obtained here.
"In Las Vegas, we pride ourselves as being the 'meetings capital of the world' - from trade shows and job fairs, to corporate board meetings and company sales meetings, we understand the value of face-to-face meetings. As chairman of the U.S. Travel Association, I see an opportunity for the entire industry to work together to build a stronger future and take a seat at the table in Washington."
The U.S. Travel Association represents all aspects of the travel industry – including hotels, destinations, transport, attractions, meeting planners and rental car companies. Ralenkotter will serve as chairman through June 2013.
Ralenkotter has nearly 40 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. He also served as chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism.