The U.S. Travel Association will celebrate its 75th anniversary at its fall board meeting tonight, looking back at victories achieved and challenges overcome, and ahead to a bright but still task-filled future for the industry.
"Tonight we will mark more than an anniversary of our industry's voice in Washington," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "This celebration is a look back at the remarkable work we have done to protect and promote travel—and a reminder of all we must continue to do to keep travelers moving to and within our country."
On October 16, 1941, the founding meeting of what is now the U.S. Travel Association was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., with the stated goal of increasing travel within the U.S. Much of the association's post-World War II efforts were staged to counter widespread "Don't Travel" campaigns that sprouted out of the war effort, helping policymakers and citizens alike understand the value of travel for America's health, wealth and continued postwar prosperity.
A commemorative book captures the organization's journey since, highlighting how U.S. Travel has worked with administrations and legislators on both sides of the aisle, the evolution of its research capabilities and the history of industry-connecting events such as IPW, ESTO and Destination Capitol Hill.
"From President Eisenhower's declaration of 1960 as 'Visit the USA' year to the Obama administration's creation of Brand USA and the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, U.S. Travel's relationship-building in the halls of power has achieved real victories for travel," Dow said. "We've forged thousands of travel champions and supporters from all parties and in both chambers of Congress. We've evolved into a world-class resource for travel-related economic research, as well as the hub of events connecting our industry. Thanks to our members and association leaders past and present, we have become the stewards of a phenomenal industry, and we are proud to represent all of the dedicated professionals who have helped it grow.
"In reflecting on these accomplishments, though, we must take a clear-eyed approach to the road ahead.
"Our association was founded in the face of adversity, and we have weathered many storms in our 75 years of existence, but we have survived and thrived in even the most challenging of circumstances. We are committed to working with the Trump administration and the new Congress on policies that will keep travelers moving, and keep the U.S. an attractive and welcoming destination for visitors worldwide. Above all, though, we will continue with the vision our founding members set 75 years ago: protect and promote travel to and within the U.S."
U.S. Travel Association National Chair Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, will deliver remarks on the association's anniversary, and debut a video featuring the recollections of past U.S. Travel leaders.
Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, and Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide and incumbent chairman of U.S. Travel's CEO Roundtable, will then be inducted into the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders, the highest honor the association can bestow upon members of the travel community.
View a timeline of U.S. Travel milestones from 1941 to 2016.
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15.1 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit www.ustravel.org.