The U.S. Travel Association hailed the steps taken this week by the Obama Administration to launch the Corporation for Travel Promotion, enacted into law in March 2010. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the Corporation's initial board of directors and, earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security established the funding mechanism that, combined with private sector contributions, will create a marketing program of up to $200 million per year to attract millions of new visitors to the United States.
"This is a momentous week in laying the groundwork for attracting millions of new visitors to our country and creating thousands of new jobs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The rapid speed with which the Obama Administration launched this program is concrete evidence that our government leaders embrace the importance of welcoming more international visitors."
“The establishment of the Corporation for Travel Promotion is a long-awaited victory for the U.S. travel economy,” said Jonathan Tisch, chairman emeritus of the U.S. Travel Association and chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels. “This partnership between the travel industry and government will finally reverse the declines we have seen in overseas visitation to our country since 9/11.”
The launch of the Corporation for Travel Promotion comes on the heels of President Obama's recent launch of the National Export Initiative and his goal of doubling exports over the next five years, U.S. Travel says. An analysis by Oxford Economics revealed that travel promotion could help to generate $4 billion in new international consumer spending in the United States annually.
"Travel holds the key to achieving the President's ambitious goal of doubling exports over the next five years," Dow said.
The United States welcomed fewer overseas visitors in each year post-9/11 compared to 2000. An analysis earlier this year by Oxford Economics showed the failure of the United States to simply keep pace with the growth in international long-haul travel which has cost the economy an estimated $509 billion in total spending and 441,000 American jobs which could have been created or sustained over the past decade. In addition, the country forfeited an estimated $32 billion in direct tax receipts over the same period.
The anticipated next steps for the Corporation include hiring an executive director, developing a global marketing strategy and launching a private sector fundraising effort. The private sector is responsible for raising 50 percent of the Corporation's budget.
Included on the Corporation for Travel Promotion board are:
• Caroline Beteta, president and CEO, California Travel & Tourism Commission
• Stephen Cloobeck, chairman and CEO, Diamond Resorts International
• George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Company
• Daniel Halpern, president and CEO, Jackmont Hospitality, Inc
• Tom Klein, president, Sabre Holdings
• David Lim, CMO, Amtrak
• Mark Schwab, senior vice president, United Airlines
• Diane Shober, tourism director, State of Wyoming
• Al Weiss, president, worldwide operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
• Roy Yamaguchi, owner and founder, Roy’s Restaurant
• Lynda S. Zengerle, partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP