SALEM, Ore., Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Following President Barack Obama's Executive Order laying out a strategy for increasing international travel to the U.S., Secretary of Commerce John Bryson tapped Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon) CEO Todd Davidson as chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to help implement the initiative.
The Advisory Board will work closely with a federal intra-agency task force charged with developing a National Travel & Tourism Strategy taking advantage of the booming global travel market. Designed to make it more efficient for international travelers to visit and experience the nation's attractions, the program holds the potential to generate 1 million new jobs over the next decade by increasing international travel to the U.S.
"I have a steadfast belief in tourism's ability to boost and diversify local economies and generate good jobs that can't be outsourced. I'm honored to serve the travel industry and our country during this pivotal time," said Davidson. "In leading the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, I'll continue working closely with the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies. We'll take the bold steps necessary to improve the travel process and unlock our nation's potential."
Travel and tourism is a $1.2 trillion sector of the U.S. economy or nearly three percent of Gross Domestic Product, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Critical to the nation's overall economic health, tourism is one of the top employers for more than half of the U.S. states and territories and is on pace for a record-setting year. Through November 2011, international visitors spent an estimated $139.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date, an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The U.S. recorded a $38.4 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through November 2011.
"The travel industry is an important part of Oregon's economy," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Appointing Todd Davidson to Chair the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board was an excellent selection. Todd is a thoughtful and effective leader who will continue to promote Oregon's tourism advantages in his national position."
Davidson was appointed Executive Director of Travel Oregon in June 1996 and was named Chief Executive Officer in September 2004. Under his leadership, the tourism industry in Oregon has flourished into an $8.7 billion industry that employs more than 90,000 Oregonians; in 2011 more than 8,000 jobs were created. In 2003 he helped lead an effort to establish dedicated and stable funding for the Commission. This funding has been crucial in Travel Oregon's ability to grow the state's tourism industry through strengthening its base of international markets; leadership in sustainable tourism initiatives; and award-winning publications, niche-oriented websites and advertising campaigns.
In addition to his appointment as Chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Davidson also serves on the Board of the U.S. Travel Association, the National Council of State Tourism Directors and the Western States Tourism Policy Council.
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors' experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians' quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state's $8.7 billion tourism industry. www.TravelOregon.com
SOURCE Travel Oregon