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The travel and tourism industry was the focus of the first session of the American Economic Competitiveness Series, led by the White House Business Council. Nearly 50 national tourism leaders were on hand for the Aug. 1 meeting, which included presentations by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon and chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.
“The awareness, recognition and resulting actions exhibited by the White House and the administration are unprecedented,” Davidson said. “We stand at a threshold where we can state unequivocally and unapologetically that America’s travel and tourism industry is a primary driver of our nation’s economy.”
Items covered included visitation growth, the economic impact from international travel into the U.S. in the last two years and the federal government’s recent focus on the industry, exemplified by the establishment of Brand USA as a well-funded international marketing effort for the U.S., the completion of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, the extensive activity of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and a reinvigorated Cabinet-level Tourism Policy Council, chaired by secretaries Blank and Salazar.