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U.S. Travel's 2015 Priorities

January 22, 2015

The New Year is off to a fast start following a momentous past 12 months. Roger Dow, President/CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, has outlined some critical priorities that will fill the agenda.
In 2015, our major initiatives will be guided by U.S. Travel's new strategic plan. We are proud to share this with you and believe it provides a strong foundation for the work we will do together over the coming years. Key priorities include:

  • We will continue to advocate for Visa Waiver Program protection and expansion in the new Congress. The program benefits not only travelers, but also our national security since it is a vital tool for counterterrorism efforts. Expanding travel and enhancing security go together; they are not mutually exclusive goals.
  • Domestic and international travel facilitation will, of course, remain a core focus for our organization this year. We are encouraged by the steady and deliberate pace at which the Department of Homeland Security has moved to expand programs such as Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. But much more needs to be done—particularly when it comes to continuing improvements to the Customs process. Rest assured, we will continue to encourage DHS to implement smart, sensible and fully secure solutions that improve the travel experience.
  • Travel infrastructure and airport modernization will be a top U.S. Travel priority this year, with the reauthorization of both the Federal Aviation Administration and surface transportation on Congress' agenda. Improving travel infrastructure around the country and promoting much-needed investment in our airports will be the central focus of our work. Travel businesses need long-term funding solutions from Washington to achieve long-term growth and global competitiveness. Increasing travel will benefit the entire U.S. economy—a message we constantly reinforce on Capitol Hill. We will also sustain and expand our efforts outside Washington.
  • We will continue to serve as a convener of the travel community through world-class events, such as IPW, ESTO, and Destination Capitol Hill. Recent research has discovered that our annual IPW, for instance, delivers a bigger impact to its host community than the Super Bowl. We are all looking forward to this year's event in Orlando.
  • Our groundbreaking Travel Effect research has already garnered massive media attention. In fact, it has sparked a national conversation around the problem of unused paid time off in the U.S. and travel's positive impact on personal well-being and overall business performance. We will continue this exciting initiative that we believe will ultimately help expand the leisure travel market and benefit Americans and communities nationwide.
  • Our work requires the collective effort of all our members but begins with strong leadership. We salute Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels and Resorts, who served as U.S. Travel's National Chair in 2013-14 and helped lead our many accomplishments. In 2015, we welcome Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, as our new Chair-Elect. He is a highly respected leader with a strong vision for U.S. Travel's role as the voice for travel.
With such an ambitious agenda, we know that we cannot succeed without your steady support and engagement. To that end, we look forward to working with you on these and other initiatives during what I know will be a great year for our industry.

What's Happening
Tourism professionals from across the state gathered on May 14 and 15, 2018 for the Oklahoma Conference on Tourism, an annual event that helps Oklahoma's tourism industry work together to grow our attractions and communities. Between OTIA's Annual Meeting, eleven educational sessions (presentations available for download), a trade show, networking opportunities, and the RedBud Awards gala, attendees had a great time!
The Oklahoma Travel Industry Association (OTIA) held its annual RedBud Awards gala at the Oklahoma History Center on May 15, 2018. Open to all Oklahoma tourism entities, the RedBud Awards represent the highest honor given in the Oklahoma tourism industry.
The dates and featured chefs for Odyssey de Culinaire 2018 have been set! The first dinner will be Thursday, July 12 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in OKC, and the second dinner will be Thursday, July 19 at River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa. We hope to see you at one or both of these unique dinners benefitting the Oklahoma ProStart® program!
The ORA has launched its new Oklahoma Hospitality Buyers’ Guide - a valuable, easily accessible, year-round resource featuring updated and expanded supplier and product listings, in addition to other information relating to the hospitality industry. The Guide provides users with an efficient way to browse for goods and services and offers hospitality suppliers and companies exceptional visibility by showcasing their products and services to a targeted, industry-specific buyer group.

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