Before the Summit held its official kick-off last night with a grand welcome dinner, members of the Board of Directors of the newly created Corporation for Travel Promotion met with members of the media. They discussed the United States’ first-ever nationally coordinated program to market the U.S. as a travel destination abroad.
Each year this Summit is attended by numerous ministers of tourism from around the world leading their countries’ tourism promotion programs. In fact, just about all developed nations have one. But the United States has just gotten into this game. The Corporation was created by the government, but operates as a private non-profit entity working in concert with the government to secure a marketing budget up to $200 million. Based on the visa discussion from earlier in the day, it is an important partnership because it might be hard to promote the U.S. in places where visas are virtually impossible to secure. This will be a big job.
The exciting announcement that also came on Tuesday was the appointment of a CEO to run the Corporation and develop all the marketing programs to attract millions more visitors to the U.S. The Board’s selection was Jim Evans, a long-time industry leader with strong marketing and CEO experience and a successful record of coalition building, which is extremely important given the need to align the priorities of 50 states, hundreds of destinations and even more companies wanting more travel to the U.S. Mr. Evans has a long – but likely rewarding – road ahead.
So, back to the word of the day: competition. We congratulate the U.S. for joining the marketing game, and we can’t wait to see the ads.