March 16, 2016 Newsletter
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We are pleased to announce that we can now officially be called the International Inbound Travel Association. An overwhelming majority of receptive tour operator voters shared their enthusiasm for the re-brand and name change of the organization by voting Yes, to the proposed bylaws amendments. It is now up to association members to take the momentum of the re-brand and propel this organization forward.

Over the past year countless hours have been dedicated by volunteers to spearhead this change. We would like to give a special recognition to Jonathan Zuk, Rafael Villanueva and Lisa Cully for making the re-brand come to life. Additionally, proven marketing expertswere hired to analyze the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the association and guide the leadership in shaping the future of the organization.

In the coming month association leadership will once again ask for membership feedback on which proposed strategies, benefits and opportunities would best help the member profit in the industry. Please be on the lookout for the chance to share your opinion.

Important Information:

* NEW IITA Website launching this month.

* IITA member logo will be sent in an email announcing the website launch.

* Staff email changes: (Interim Executive Director) (Project Coordinator) (Sponsorship) (Gary Schluter) (General Mailbox)
Bob Gilbert, IITA Ambassador and
Max Baucus, US Ambassador to China

U.S. and China Launch
2016 U.S. - China Tourism Year

On Monday, February 29, the United States and China launched the 2016 U.S.-China Tourism Year in Beijing at an opening ceremony hosted by the US Embassy and Brand USA. New IITA board member David Huang, with Chinese Host, graciously sent Bob Gilbert as our ambassador to represent the International Inbound Travel Association at the event. 

The U.S. - China Tourism Year is a result of President Xi Jinping's 2015 visit to the U.S. in which both countries pledged to develop a year of events that will promote and further open travel between the United States and China. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, China was the number two country for visitor spending to and within the United States in 2014 with an estimated $23.8 billion spent on travel and tourism while only accounting for 2.9 percent of total international arrivals in the United States in 2014. 
In addition to increasing travel between the U.S. and travel the U.S. - China Tourism Year aims to enhance the traveler’s experience, increase the traveler’s cultural understanding, and expand the traveler’s appreciation of natural landscapes in each other’s countries, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Bob Gilbert, lead developer of China Ready Partners for Chinese Host, shared that the event was a success with about 500 in attendance. He added that attendees included regional Chinese tourism executives and outbound travel producers. The opening ceremonies included a short video welcome from Obama which can be viewed below. 

While at the event Mr. Gilbert made a point to network with key industry figures who were excited to learn about the new direction of the International Inbound Travel Association. Several requested future meetings with IITA leadership to discuss potential partnerships.  

The U.S. - China Tourism Year has kicked off with a promising future. The IITA is looking forward to its participation and impact on the year ahead. 

Video Welcome from President Obama
(Please click on photo to play)

It's not too late to participate in this week's Destination Capitol Hill (DCH), the U.S. travel industry's premier legislative fly-in, March 16 - 17.

The event brings travel leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C. to educate policymakers about the power of travel. IITA will be represented as a sponsor of the event and we need our members to join us to ensure our congressional leaders hear directly from you about the issues impacting your business.   The program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. To learn more about the event and register please click here.

It was announced at the Stanley Awards Gala that the Mississippi Gulf Coast will host of the 2017 International Inbound Travel Association Summit. Lisa Simon, Interim Executive Director, is currently traveling back from visiting the site and making plans to achieve the best Summit to date! Stay tuned for more information.   
Welcome to the USA (欢迎来到美国)
Welcome to the USA Video from Brand USA
(please click on the photo to play)
Is your business doing something special to participate in the the China US Tourism year? We'd love to hear about it! Please email us your story for possible use in future newsletters or on our Facebook page. We know our members are doing amazing things and we'd like to brag.  
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