U.S. Travel Names 2014 Hall of Leaders Inductees

Sam Gilliland and Rossi Ralenkotter

This fall, the U.S. Travel Association will induct travel industry advocates Sam Gilliland (left) and Rossi Ralenkotter (right) into the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders, it announced yesterday.

Gilliland, who is chairman emeritus for Sabre Corp., has made industry advocacy "a major part of his professional life," according to U.S. Travel, which cited his commitment to improving the visa and entry process, building support for Brand USA, promoting risk-based security and fighting human trafficking.

Ralenkotter, who is president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), last year celebrated his 40th anniversary as chief of Las Vegas' tourism industry. He is largely credited with helping the city become one of the nation's top travel destinations, having overseen the famous "What Happens Here, Stays Here" campaign. According to U.S. Travel, he was "instrumental" in securing passage of the Travel Promotion Act, which created Brand USA in 2010.

Both Gilliland and Ralenkotter -- along with 88 previous Hall of Leaders inductees -- were chosen for their "sustained, noteworthy contributions that have positively impacted the travel industry, stimulated greater achievement and raised industry-wide standards."

"Sam and Rossi have consistently stepped up beyond their leadership for their organizations to engage at the national, state and local levels on behalf of the industry's interests," U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "They have volunteered their time to regularly engage with policymakers and other industry leaders to ensure travel is recognized as vital to our economy and well-being. This is well-deserved recognition, and I look forward to joining the rest of the travel community in honoring them."

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