It’s often said in our industry that one of the most important
aspects of travel is that it “promotes understanding” between
cultures. Certainly the more we learn about each other, the less
likely we are to view each other with suspicion and prejudice. I
think we’ve probably all witnessed or heard examples of this as we
go about our travels.
As this issue of TravelAge West hits your desk, the Travel Industry
Association Pow Wow is about to kick off down the road in Anaheim,
Calif. While the event is undeniably an important show for U.S.
tour operators, because it deals with inbound tourism many travel
agents tend to be ambivalent about it. This is a mistake. It’s true
that from a strictly bottom-line point of view the Pow Wow is not
really central to most agents’ business, however when seen in a
larger context, the TIA is doing crucial work that benefits agents,
and more importantly, their clients.
In particular, the TIA has taken a strong role in advocating for
reforming the image of America, and Americans, abroad. Anyone who
has traveled overseas in the last few years knows what an uphill
battle this is right now. Through its Discover America Partnership,
the TIA has teamed with top companies to encourage politicians to
look at changes that will improve the image of America. As one
study shows, people who have visited the U.S. are 74 percent more
likely to have a favorable view of the country and its people than
those who have not visited. Certainly a positive view of Americans
can be the difference between a successful vacation for your
clients or an outright failure.
The TIA deserves the support of everyone in the industry including
agents as they look to create a more positive environment for
American travelers. K.S.