Here are some tips on how to make National Travel and Tourism Week 2018 the best one yet for your area’s travel community.

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being. This year’s celebration, which will take place May 6 – 12, 2018, marks the 35th anniversary of the 1983 congressional resolution that established NTTW—and it’s all about celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel community over the course of the last several decades.

The theme of NTTW 2018, “Travel Then and Now,” gives our industry a chance to reflect on past successes, while advocating for policies that promote future growth. Every U.S. destination has a story to tell about its unique offerings that have attracted visitors to their area for years. NTTW 2018 is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on what travel has done for your community—and what we need our government leaders to do to ensure travel continues to benefit for generations to come. 

So, besides digging up those excellent family vacation photos, how can you get involved? Here are some ideas, and where to find helpful resources in our National Travel and Tourism Week toolkit to make them come alive:

1. Rally for Travel: Host a travel rally or event on Travel Rally Day (Tuesday, May 8) in your community. You’ll join hundreds of travel industry advocates nationwide who will publicly show their support for travel during this important week. Some tips for organizing a Travel Rally Day:

  • Invite local lawmakers, travel workers and industry supporters to participate.
  • Incorporate this year’s theme by highlighting how travel has changed in your community. New convention center or meeting site? Hold your rally there. Celebrating an impressive number of years of a landmark building or a park? That’s a great place to bring people together.
  • In your talking points, be sure to highlight travel’s growing economic impact in your community.
  • Amplify your event through local press.

Useful toolkit items: Host a Travel Rally Sample Media Advisory , Talking Points

2. Get Social: Social media is a highly effective way to get involved in events and discussions during NTTW. Include #nttw18 in all posts about NTTW 2018 to amplify your message on social media (and get a chance to see your celebrations featured in our wrap-up video.

This year, we’re also incorporating two additional hashtags:

  • #TBTravel: In Throwback Thursday spirit, use this hashtag on Thursdays leading up to NTTW to share old photos of landmarks, neighborhoods, streets, major events, parades, festivals and any other attractions. Show the world what your community looked like “back in the day”!
  • #TravelNow: Use this hashtag to show the impact of travel on your community today, especially economically. Highlight relevant statistics like the number of jobs supported (U.S. Travel’s Travel Economic Impact Calculator can help you find those for your state).  

Follow U.S. Travel’s social media channels to see how other communities are celebrating, and get some ideas.

  • Twitter: @USTravel
  •  Facebook: U.S. Travel Association
  • Instagram: ustravel_association
  • LinkedIn: U.S. Travel Association

Useful toolkit items: Tweet SheetGraphics

3. Get Travel in the News: Inviting local media to your NTTW event on Travel Rally Day is just the first step. Here’s how you can further engage reporters, and get your story out there:

  • Coordinate or write a guest column for your local newspapers, destination blogs or company website:
  1. Identify a good author: Elected officials and recognized local authorities (governor, mayor, business leader, destination marketing executive, board chairman or other civic leader, etc.) add credibility to op-eds and articles.
  2. Determine the topic and tone: Messages should be current, easy to read and concise. They should also provide compelling arguments on what travel means to your community or state.
  3. Confirm submission guidelines: If you’re submitting an article or an op-ed, know what the submission criteria and deadlines are (these can often be found in the opinions section of most major newspapers’ websites). Most outlets require a few days’ lead time before they publish a piece, so make sure you submit in time for your article or op-ed to appear during NTTW.

Useful toolkit items: Sample Press Release, Sample Op-ed, Sample Blog Post

4. Honor Local Travel Employees: From airport personnel, to hotel staff, to restaurant and retail workers, front-line travel industry employees interact with travelers daily—and have been doing so for decades. Here’s how you can involve them: 

  • Invite travel workers to join your rally, and bring an industry representative to the stage alongside other dignitaries.
  • Recognize the incredible achievements of the travel workforce on social media and/or blog posts or your local industry newsletter—highlight a specific worker’s story, if you have their permission.
  • Award dedicated travel employees, through gifts or discounts to enjoy local attractions. You can also host a reception to honor their contributions.
  • Thank front-line workers with banners and posters. Don’t forget to include your organization’s name and logo.

Useful toolkit items: Sample Press Release, Sample Op-ed, Sample Media Advisory, Host a Travel Rally

5. Connect with your Elected Officials: Building a relationship with your elected officials and their staff sets a foundation for influential conversations about the travel industry. Here’s how to build those relationships:

  • Set up a meeting with your local elected officials and/or their staff in their office, or your member of Congress and/or their staff in their state/district office, to discuss the impact of travel and tourism on your community.
  • Call their office if you are unable to secure a meeting, and ask them to support pro-travel policies (or thank them for their support, if they have done so in the past).
  • Write a letter asking your elected officials to support pro-travel policies that grow our industry (or thank them for their support).
  • Tweet at your local elected officials, or your members of Congress, and incorporate #nttw18 to raise their awareness of how important travel is to your community.
  •  Host a Travel Talks event at an area hotel, convention center or attraction with your member of Congress—contact U.S. Travel’s Power of Travel Coalition to set one up.

Useful toolkit items: Elected Official Letter, Sample Proclamation 

These tips are just a start. Let us know how you’ll be celebrating “Travel Then and Now” by adding your event to the Event Map or contacting Brittany Kemp (bkemp@ustravel.org).