FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
News Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF COMMERCE REBECCA BLANK ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS TO TRAVEL AND TOURISM ADVISORY BOARD
WASHINGTON – In conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced the appointment of six new members to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The Board, established in 2003, serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. Its members represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms from across the country.
“The travel and tourism industry is an important driver of our export success, and a strong source of U.S. jobs,” said Deputy Secretary Blank. “Travel and tourism supported nearly 8 million U.S. jobs in 2012, and last week’s jobs report showed continued growth in the leisure and hospitality industry. These new members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, who come from different regions and industry sub-sectors, will play a valuable role as we work to help maintain the momentum that’s currently underway.”
The announcement coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week (May 4-12), a celebration of the industry’s positive impact on the U.S. economy. Travel and tourism generated more than $168 billion in U.S. exports last year, a 10 percent increase from 2011.
On Monday, the Commerce Department highlighted new data that shows spending by international visitors in March 2013 totaled more than $14.4 billion, an increase of nearly 3 percent when compared to last year.
This week also marks the first anniversary of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy (Strategy), a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the United States. The Strategy aims to attract more than 100 million international visitors annually by 2021. These international visitors are projected to spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.
The newly appointed members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board are:
- Brian Mullis, Founder and CEO, Sustainable Travel International, White Salmon, Wash.
- Trudy A. Rautio, President and CEO, Carlson, Minneapolis, Minn.
- Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Sherry Rupert, Vice-President, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Albuquerque, N.M.
- William D. Talbert, President and CEO, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miami, Fla.
- Betsy Wall, Executive Director, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Boston, Mass.
United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board
The United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board) serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. The Board advises the Secretary on government policies and programs that affect the U.S. travel and tourism industry, offers counsel on current and emerging issues, and provides a forum for discussing and proposing solutions to industry-related problems.
The current Board has provided valuable advice on the National Travel and Tourism Strategy (Strategy) to the Department of Commerce, and, through the Department to the interagency Tourism Policy Council, informing the development of the Strategy. In addition to that work, the Board has established subcommittees to examine issues under four overarching topics: advocacy; business climate; infrastructure and sustainability; and travel facilitation. The Board has also formed a research task force to examine data and research challenges experienced in the industry. Future Board recommendations will be shared on this site.
The Board is comprised of up to thirty-two members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. Members represent companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry from a broad range of products and services, company sizes and geographic locations. Members serve, at the pleasure of the Secretary, typically for a two-year term. The Board was originally chartered in 2003, and because of the Department’s need for the ongoing advice from industry representatives, has been re-chartered four times, most recently in September 2011.
Past Boards have presented Secretaries of Commerce with advice on a wide range of policies and issues facing the travel and tourism including travel facilitation, visa policy, infrastructure, aviation security, research, energy policy, economic sustainability and the need for a coordinated governmental strategy on travel and tourism.
The Assistant Secretary of Manufacturing and Services serves as the Board’s Executive Director. The Office of Advisory Committees serves as the Executive Secretariat for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The Executive Secretariat can be reached at (202) 482-4501 or U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 4043, Washington, DC, 20230.
Additional information on the U.S. travel and tourism industry can be found on the website for the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, http://tinet.ita.doc.gov.