Hopes of expanding international travel to the U.S. took another step forward as Tom Klein, president of Sabre Holdings, was appointed to the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) Board of Directors. The appointment was made by U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. President of Texas-based Sabre Holdings, Klein will represent the travel distribution services sector on the Board.
The CTP Board of Directors is mandated to oversee a non-profit corporation, established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, to promote leisure, business and scholarly travel to the U.S. and to improve communication on U.S. entry policies.
The CTP Board of Directors will work to identify the best ways to promote the U.S. as a travel destination to audiences abroad and will make recommendations to the Commerce Department and Congress on how the U.S. can improve entry to the U.S. so that foreign tourists are encouraged to come back. The CTP will work in consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce, State and Homeland Security.
Klein said the rebound in global travel and tourism presented an opportunity to promote the United States as an attractive destination with world-class tourist attractions, unique natural resources, and excellent meeting and conference facilities.
“Unlike other countries, we have taken a conservative approach to promoting the United States as a travel destination in foreign markets,” said Klein. “That’s all set to change with the creation of the CTP, and I look forward to working with other Board members to create a more collaborative travel and tourism industry that champions inbound tourism and actively competes for the global tourism dollar,” he said.
Klein’s appointment also supports Sabre’s ongoing industry and government efforts to improve the health of the travel industry. Earlier this year, Sabre Holdings’ CEO Sam Gilliland was re-appointed to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board which consults the United States’ federal government on issues facing the travel industry including aviation security, sustainability initiatives and tax issues.
Sabre’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Bruce Charendoff, was also recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by ASTA for his contributions. Charendoff has long advocated for accountable travel taxation policies, and has played an instrumental role in international regulatory affairs and export advocacy in Europe, Latin America, and China.
Nationally, the travel and tourism industry supports 8.2 million American jobs and accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. exports, making it a vital part of the country’s economy and recovery. The industry generates nearly $1.3 trillion in economic output each year.
In 2009, the United States attracted 55 million international visitors who spent over $120 billion. In Texas alone, travel spending in 2009 directly supported more than 500,000 jobs and another 460,000 jobs secondarily. The total direct travel spending in Texas last year was $51.8 billion, Sabre reports.