I hope and pray that personally everyone has been able to come thru the events of the past few weeks without any severe damage. Between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the wildfires out West we know some of our most beloved destinations face a long road ahead. IITA has set up a web-page to bring you resources with the latest information on impacted locations. If you have information or resources to contribute please contact us.
Through our work with Tourism Cares the monies raised for the silent auction at Summit will go to help the cities affected by these terrible disasters. Please consider how you can help by donating items to the auction, bidding on packages or donating directly to Tourism Cares.
Last week I was in Washington, D.C. attending the US-Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) meeting at the Department of Commerce. When we met with Secretary Ross in March he had given the direction to provide suggestions on how the Department of Commerce, coordinating departments and the tourism private sector could work together to continue to make America a welcoming destination and continue to increase the number of visitors coming to the United States each year. The Obama Administration set a goal to have 100 million visitors by 2021. We are currently coming up about 30 million visitors short in that timeframe. Secretary Ross tasked the TTAB with examining this goal, setting a new timeframe and giving him definite working points on how we might achieve these goals.
I suggested that if we are to add an additional 30 million visitors to the U.S. over the next 5-8 years (2022-2025) we must coordinate efforts with Brand USA to continue to expand their marketing efforts for the secondary and tertiary travel destinations. For example, many inbound travelers are looking to visit our beautiful National Parks—and the parks are trying to find ways to control the crowds of visitors that are already present. This can be done by putting more emphasis on traditional markets to get previous visitors looking for new experiences.
The issue of temporary work visas for the park concessionaires and many of the amusement parks, etc... also came up. We will be asking our Advocacy Committee to take a look at this issue and asking our members to contact your congressional delegations in the coming months for support for Brand USA, worker visas, and infrastructure.
And again, between water in the East and South and Fires in the West….let us all keep our members (and everyone in the travel industry) in our thoughts and prayers and help out in any way that we can.
-Gary Schluter, Chairman
Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours