Tuesday, May 15, 2007

National Tourism Week Celebrates Nation’s $703 Billion Travel Industry

It's a great week to be a tourist. I wouldn't mind strolling through Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, New York or Pittsburgh. Pick a city and there is probably something being done in that city to recognize tourism this week.

In Pittsburgh… VisitPittsburgh joins hundreds of cities, states and travel-related businesses nationwide in recognition of the 24th annual National Tourism Week, May 12-20. Designated by Congress and established by presidential proclamation in 1983, the event highlights the impact of the nation’s $703 billion travel industry and the economic and social contributions it brings to the Pittsburgh region.

This year’s theme, “Travel & Tourism: America’s Front Door,” illustrates the importance of travel to America’s image and suggests its impact as a leading industry for economic growth.

“Hotels and meeting facilities, attractions, restaurants and transportation providers are among the local businesses greatly impacted by travel to Pittsburgh and Its Countryside,” said Joe McGrath, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh.

Each year, an estimated 10.2 million visitors come to the Greater Pittsburgh area. In 2005 that translated into almost $3 billion in economic impact. It’s worth noting that Allegheny County ranks first in the state for direct spending; and Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation for the number of tourists, right after California, Florida and Texas.

In addition, this industry employs nearly 50,000 people in Allegheny County and touches our community in countless other ways. “This week, we celebrate the value of tourism and the positive impact it makes on the economy. We are absolutely delighted to be able to showcase Pittsburgh, America’s most livable city.” said McGrath.

Nationwide, the U.S. travel industry directly employs 7.5 million people and generates payroll of $171 billion and tax revenues of about $105 billion. It ranks fifth among the 20 major industry sectors measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. Visitors to the U.S. spent more here than U.S. residents traveling abroad, creating a positive balance of trade of $7.4 billion for the national economy. Travel expenditures within the United States total $703 billion.

National Tourism Week is one of several Tourism Works for America® programs supported annually by the Travel Industry Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents the common interests and concerns of travel in America.

Las Vegas meanwhile had a “LAS VEGAS MONORAIL SPY GAME” to celebrate National Tourism Week. Las Vegas-Based TBA Global Earns First-Place in the AdVenture Vegas Competition.

As mentioned in Trade Show Expo’s eNewletter last week, the adventure-seeking spirit of Las Vegas was on full display during AdVenture Vegas’ debut “Las Vegas Monorail Spy Game” competition, pitting the city’s top destination management companies (DMCs) in a head-to-head race in celebration of National Tourism Week. Top industry participants, who promote Las Vegas by profession, successfully utilized the Las Vegas Monorail to infiltrate the inner sanctum of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and worked together following a trail of clues to sniff out actors portraying real, live spies in this first-of-its-kind adventure.

“It has been a pleasure to partner with AdVenture Vegas to debut the first ‘Las Vegas Monorail Spy Game’ and celebrate National Tourism Week with some of the most friendly, esteemed people who bring visitors to Las Vegas and promote our city as a premier destination,” said Ingrid Reisman, vice president of corporate communications for the Las Vegas Monorail Company. “We hope to do more events, activities and promotions that continue to increase the role of the Las Vegas Monorail as part of the Strip experience.”

Monorail photoDressed in themed attire, more than 70 people from Las Vegas’ leading DMCs, including Alan Waxler Group, Baskow and Associates, LT Eventions, Panache, PRA Destination Management, TBA Global, USA Hosts, and VegasHotSpots.com, teamed up to participate in the “Las Vegas Monorail Spy Game.” Culminating at Sprint Central, inside the Las Vegas Convention Center Monorail Station, was a festive awards reception where the first place team, Las Vegas-based TBA Global, was recognized with a “Las Vegas Monorail Spy Game” trophy, a $1,500 gift certificate from AdVenture Vegas and an office lunch to PF Chang’s China Bistro – in addition to exclusive bragging rights. VegasHotSpots.com was the second place winner and a three-way tie for third place was between Baskow and Associates, Panache, and USA Hosts with Baskow and Associates taking the victory by winning a cheer-off.

Enjoy the week you lucky tourists!