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Feds Launch New Corporation for Travel Promotion

September 13, 2010

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Continuing its implementation of the Travel Promotion Act, which the president signed into law in March, the Obama Administration officially launched the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) on Friday, when the U.S. Department of Commerce named 11 travel and tourism industry leaders to serve on its first board of directors.

By funding up to 50 percent of the country's promotion activities, the Travel Promotion Act will allow the United States to advertise itself for the first time as a tourist destination to travelers in foreign countries. As the governing body in charge of spending the country's travel promotion dollars — which will be secured through private donations and matching public funds, collected through a new $10 fee on select foreign travelers — the CTP will be tasked with creating advertisements and information for overseas travelers, focusing in many instances on communicating America's security policies, which have been perceived as a challenge to international tourism since Sept. 11.

"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 U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "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."

Added U.S. Travel Association Chairman Emeritus Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, "The establishment of the Corporation for Travel Promotion is a long-awaited victory for the U.S. travel economy. 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."

Appointed to the CTP board, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, were:

• Caroline Beteta, President and CEO, California Travel & Tourism Commission, Sacramento, Calif.
• Stephen Cloobeck, Chairman and CEO, Diamond Resorts International, Las Vegas
• George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Company, New York
• Daniel Halpern, President and CEO, Jackmont Hospitality, Inc., Atlanta
• Tom Klein, President, Sabre Holdings, Southlake, Texas
• David Lim, Chief Marketing Officer, Amtrak, Washington, D.C.
• Mark Schwab, Senior Vice President-Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs, United Airlines, Chicago
• Diane Shober, Tourism Director, State of Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyo.
• Al Weiss, President, Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Orlando
• Roy Yamaguchi, Owner and Founder, Roy’s Restaurant, Newport Beach, Calif.
• Lynda S. Zengerle, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C.

"We are extremely pleased to join with this diverse group of talented travel and tourism industry leaders as we work together to strengthen this important sector of the U.S. economy," Locke said. "President Obama recognizes the critical role that attracting international visitors to the United States plays in creating jobs and growing our economy."

According to the U.S. Travel Association, which cites data from Oxford Economics, a well-executed travel promotion program could attract 1.6 million new international visitors to the United States and create $4 billion in new spending every year.
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