PLAYA MUERJES, Mexico, May 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christopher Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, received the first ever National Tourism Leadership Award presented by Skal International--USA.
"The leaders of Skal International in the United States want to recognize annually major contributions by an individual who has helped to grow tourism to and within the United States as part of our role as a tourism leadership group comprised of members from all segments of the travel industry," said Burcin Turkkan, president of Skal International USA and a member of the Skal Club of Atlanta, Georgia.
"Fortunately, we did not have to look too far to find the right first recipient," she said. "Chris Thompson has distinguished himself by guiding a first-class team of professionals at Brand USA, who promote the United States around the globe. Under his leadership, Brand USA has produced two outstanding IMAX® movies with global distribution: 'National Park Adventure' and 'America's Musical Journey.' Chris is a consummate leader and well respected throughout the tourism world, both here and abroad."
"We are very proud of him and are thrilled that this first award goes to a long time Skal member, as Chris has been a "Skalleague" in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida and now in Washington, DC. His recognition will set the standard at the level we seek for future awardees. Having Chris with us at the North American Skal Congress, where he shared his message of welcoming the world to the United States, could not have been better."
On hand for the award presentation were Susanna Saari, Skal International president from Turku, Finland, and Daniela Otero, Skal International CEO, from Torremolinos, Spain.
"It's an honor to have my peers recognize me in this way," Thompson said. "The members of the North American Skal club have supported me and guided me in so many ways throughout my career, and to be the first recipient of the National Tourism Leadership Award is humbling."
"I am proud of the work we are doing at Brand USA to promote the United States as a premier travel destination," Thompson added. "The USA remains as aspirational as ever, and I look forward to welcoming all of you to the USA next year for the 2019 Skal North American Congress."
Thompson has guided the expansion of Brand USA in its role as the coordinating force behind the marketing of the United States as a premiere travel destination in the global marketplace. Brand USA, which began with 14 founding partners and today has a network of more than 800 worldwide partner organizations.
During his more than 30-year career, Thompson served as president and CEO of the Tallahassee (Florida) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and he later joined Visit Florida, where he became its chief operating officer in 2003, and president and CEO, six years later.
Thompson is currently on the board of Destinations International, and he is a member of the Advisory Board for the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, a part of the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida.
About Brand USA
Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, was established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation's first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. travel policies and procedures to worldwide travelers. The organization's mission is to increase international visitation to the USA in order to fuel the U.S. economy and enhance the image of the United States worldwide. Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion in 2010, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA. According to studies by Oxford Economics, over the past four years Brand USA's marketing initiatives have helped welcome 4.3 million incremental visitors to the USA, benefiting the U.S. economy with nearly $30 billion in total economic impact, which has supported, on average, 51,000 incremental jobs a year.
For industry or partner information about Brand USA, visit TheBrandUSA.com. For information about exceptional and unexpected travel experiences in the United States, please visit Brand USA's consumer website VisitTheUSA.com (global).
About Skal International USA
Skål is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry's managers and executives, meet at local, national, regional and international levels to discuss and pursue topics of common interest. SKAL International USA is currently the largest National Committee in Skal International with 2,000 members and 49 clubs nationwide. For more information on SKAL International and SKAL USA, and to find out more about membership, go to www.SkalUSA.org.
SOURCE Skal International USA