The U.S. Travel Association kicked off its Travel Works Roadshow in St. Louis Tuesday with a daylong series of events, featuring a keynote address from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) followed by panel discussions with local and national leaders from both the public and private sectors.
Today, the Roadshow continued to Columbus, with featured remarks by U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Troy Balderson (R-OH) and other local and national leaders.
The initiative is designed to spotlight a basic message: travel works, in many aspects and on a local, regional and national level:
• Travel Works for jobs. Travel is a top 10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
• Travel Works for trade. International inbound travel is America’s No. 1 services export and number two export overall, fueling a $69 billion trade surplus.
• Travel Works for growing commerce. Travel-related tourism spending makes outsize contributions to the U.S. GDP, accounting for 5% of overall growth over four quarters.
• Travel Works for security. Some of the best pro-travel programs are fundamentally pro-security programs.
• Travel Works for America. Travel is driving the economy and employs more Americans than almost any other industry.
“We chose to launch Travel Works in the Midwest both because there are great destinations here and because of the essential fact that travel creates jobs and benefits communities in every corner of America,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Political, community and business leaders were eager to join us because they realize the broad downstream benefit of travel—across multiple industries and all throughout their regions.”
A kickoff event at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Ballpark Village—selected to highlight the fundamental intersection between travel and big-league sports—featured a keynote address from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Following that were panel discussions featuring a breadth of leaders across the public and private sectors: Kitty Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis; Ward Franz, director, Missouri Division of Tourism; Lyda Krewson, mayor of St. Louis; Dr. Sam Page, county executive of St. Louis County; Phil Lovas, deputy assistant secretary for travel and tourism at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office; Christine Taylor, president and COO of Enterprise Holdings; and Tori Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy.
Other events on the St. Louis stop included a tour at the new, under-construction Live! By Loews – St. Louis, MO hotel complex, a “fireside chat” at Enterprise Holdings headquarters with employees and Roger Dow, a back-of-house tour of America’s Center Convention Complex, and a “Toast to Tourism” reception for industry workers and guests atop the Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch.
Said Sen. Blunt: “There couldn’t be a better place to launch the Travel Works Roadshow than right here in Missouri. From the top entertainment and recreation destinations in Branson, to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, to the Ste. Genevieve National Park, to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and so many points in between, we’re proud of all that Missouri has to offer. As a co-chair of the Senate’s Travel and Tourism caucus, I’m proud to support U.S. Travel and appreciate the important work they do to help attract more international visitors to communities in our state and across the nation.”
The Travel Works Roadshow continued Thursday in Columbus, OH, with events featuring multiple local and federal elected officials and community and business leaders.
Roger Dow was joined at a morning keynote and panel discussion at the brand-new Mitchell Hall Culinary Campus at Columbus State Community College by Reps. Stivers, Beatty and Balderson; Andrew J. Ginther, mayor of Columbus; Dr. David T. Harrison, president of Columbus State Community College; Lydia Mihalik, director of Ohio Development Services Agency; Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association; Pat Tiberi, president and CEO of Ohio Business Roundtable; and Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus.
Said Rep. Balderson: “Home to the world-renowned Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Ohio State University, The Wilds, Hocking Hills State Park, and many other attractions, Central Ohio is the perfect place to celebrate the travel industry. The greater Columbus region exemplifies a richly diverse history and culture, and as a member of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, I’m thrilled to shed light on how tourism creates jobs and boosts the economy right here in Ohio.”
“Travel is the heart of this country,” said Rep. Beatty. “It gives us not just the chance to explore and to learn, but to host and share what we have in our own communities. I am excited about the growth Central Ohio’s tourism has seen in recent years not just because of the economic impact on my district, but because each and every person who visits gets to see why we are all proud to call this place home.”
Said Rep. Stivers: “It’s not difficult to see why more people are traveling to Central Ohio: this is a region on the rise with attractions like the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Hopewell Mounds, and Hocking Hills. I’m grateful to the U.S. Travel Association for bringing their roadshow to the Buckeye State and helping to showcase what is truly becoming a destination for travelers everywhere.”
Other events on the Columbus stop included a visit to the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum, a tour of Ohio Stadium with Gene Smith, director of athletics at The Ohio State University, a roundtable meeting with students and faculty in Ohio State’s Hospitality Management program, and a tour of John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
Additional Travel Works Roadshow stops will be announced by U.S. Travel.