Over 400 events staged nationwide in annual salute to travel


WASHINGTON, DC – Over 400 US cities are staging major events to mark National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), which kicked off Sunday.

This year’s official theme, “Travel ’16,” reflects the travel industry’s goal of ensuring that travel—and its positive impact on the economy and our lives—is part of the conversation this election season.

Congressional travel champions on both sides of the aisle have embraced the spirit of NTTW by passing a resolution honoring the week, going on the record in favor of travel and meeting with travel leaders in their home districts. Last week, the U.S. Senate passed S. Res. 451, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), supporting the goals and ideals of NTTW and spotlighting the valuable contributions of travel and tourism to America. Lawmakers, including Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), honored NTTW through both video messages and in remarks for the Congressional Record.

NTTW, established by Congress in 1983 and first celebrated the following year, focuses national attention on the many economic, cultural and personal benefits of travel. In keeping with the ubiquitous 2016 election news, the theme of “Travel ’16” invites individuals and communities to join Travel Channel host (and Travel ’16 celebrity spokesperson) Samantha Brown in creatively positioning travel as the perfect candidate.

In addition, local travel leaders have arranged a record week of Travel Talks events with members of Congress in their home states and districts during NTTW, providing lawmakers with valuable exposure to the power of travel in their communities.

“No matter your political persuasion, anyone can endorse travel and its many benefits for our nation’s health, prosperity and productivity,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We’ve spent the last few months highlighting how travel is a ‘primary’ industry in our country, creating jobs both during the frenetic election season and year-round. Our industry has responded enthusiastically, and we’re thrilled to see how folks have stumped for travel. NTTW is an excellent opportunity for travel leaders to demonstrate firsthand the importance of travel to their elected officials and to their communities, and make sure travel-friendly policies stay at the forefront beyond the election.”

From parades to rallies, here’s how some of U.S. Travel’s members are celebrating NTTW:

In New Orleans, a parade through the French Quarter will celebrate tourism in the city.

Leadership at Marriott International spotlighted NTTW, and the importance of taking time off, in blog posts and social media campaigns this week.

The first-ever National Tourism Summit in Wisconsin will kick off on May 5, offering travel industry leaders and any other interested participants a day of tourism-oriented seminars and a local business marketplace in Wisconsin Dells.

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, in collaboration with local partners, will host a wide array of events celebrating NTTW and the state’s attractions, including a day of aerial adventures in historic Harpers Ferry.

The Colorado Tourism Office on Monday kicked off its inaugural Discover Colorado Roadshow, a five-day, seven-city tour in a motorcoach wrapped in the organization’s signature messaging, timed to coincide with NTTW. Stops included a rally on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, and gatherings at three of Colorado’s four national parks.

Many of the iconic neon Las Vegas Strip landmarks were turned red (the official color of NTTW) ahead of a Travel Rally Day event at the T-Mobile Arena.

Philadelphia hospitality leaders and Mayor Jim Kenney celebrated NTTW with a rally in front of Independence Hall.

Discover L.A. is celebrating a record number of visitors to Los Angeles with “NTTW Tags 2Day” Instagram giveaways and free gifts to hospitality workers.

Orlando’s annual Travel & Tourism Luncheon, held in honor of NTTW, hosted more than 800 tourism and community leaders for a celebration of the week and Orlando’s place as the top visitor destination in the U.S.

In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow and leaders from Destination DC, Events DC and other organizations celebrated D.C.’s record domestic tourism year, and spoke about the importance of travel and tourism to the city at a Travel Rally Day event.

This is just a sample of the hundreds of events occurring throughout the week. Follow #NTTW16 on social media to see all the creative ways travel is being celebrated this NTTW.

In 2015, travelers to and within the U.S. spent $947 billion, generating more than $2.1 trillion in economic activity. Travel now supports 15.1 million jobs, employing one in nine Americans, with 8.1 million good-paying jobs in the industry itself and seven million across other sectors of the economy.