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Brand USA to Receive Spirit of Hospitality Award

March 23, 2015 Accolades No Comments Email Email

The Board of Trustees of the Destination & Travel Foundation has selected America’s destination marketing organization, Brand USA, as the upcoming recipient of its highest honor, the Spirit of Hospitality Award. The award is presented annually to the individual or organization that has shown exceptional dedication and commitment to the travel and tourism industry.

This year the award recognizes Brand USA’s successful efforts in partnership with the industry to increase international visitation to the USA in order to fuel the U.S. economy and enhance the image of the United States worldwide.

The Destination & Travel Foundation continues to tackle the most pressing issues of the day and the vexing problems ahead by engaging industry leaders and experts in various fields to determine innovative and creative strategies. The ultimate goal is to prepare the industry to deal with the rapidly changing business environment by providing essential research, education and resources.

“Brand USA’s ongoing development of resources and partnerships that advance destination marketing and travel professions directly aligns with the Foundation’s mission,” said Cleo Battle, Chair of the Destination & Travel Foundation Board of Trustees. “Their reach extends around the globe, inspiring travelers to explore the USA’s boundless possibilities.”

Established in 2010, Brand USA works in close partnership with the travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel, fostering understanding between people and cultures while creating jobs essential to the economy. It is the first nationally coordinated global marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. entry/exit policies and procedures to worldwide travelers. On Dec. 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law H.R. 83, known to most as the Omnibus spending bill, which was approved with bipartisan support from the House and Senate, respectively, on Dec. 11 and 13, 2014. Included in the bill was the reauthorization of federal funding for Brand USA through September 30, 2020.

“We are humbled and thankful to DMAI and its foundation for honoring us with this recognition,” said Christopher L. Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA. “If you look at the list of past Spirit of Hospitality Award winners, it’s a Who’s Who of organizations in and around the travel industry. What we have accomplished, together, in public/private partnership with more than nearly 500 contributing organizations, has exceeded my and most everyone’s expectations. International visitation and spend in the United States are increasing, and we are regaining our market share of the world’s travelers. The unbridled enthusiasm and support from our partners around the world is still as strong today, if not stronger, than it was on the first day I arrived at Brand USA.”

Brand USA generated more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States in 2013, and these visitors spent $3.4 billion while traveling in the U.S., directly supporting over 53,000 direct jobs as a result and generating nearly $1 billion in federal, state and local taxes. U.S. Federal taxpayers contribute $0 toward these efforts, which benefits America by increasing U.S. economic growth, spurring job creation, and creating more positive impressions of the United States around the world.

“In a time when the American public’s top interest continues to be economic growth, Brand USA has been instrumental in ensuring the travel industry plays a pivotal role in leading economic stimulus,” said Michael Gehrisch, President and CEO of Destination Marketing Association International. “Travel was the second fastest growing U.S. industry last year, with Brand USA helping to bring millions of new international visitors who spend billions of dollars to the United States, creating tens of thousands of new American jobs.”

“The world is experiencing an unprecedented international travel boom, and no country can afford to sit on the sidelines in the competition for global visitors and the economic impact they deliver,” said Valencia Bembry, Executive Director of the Destination & Travel Foundation. “By virtually any measure, Brand USA has been an outstanding success since its establishment in 2010. It markets and promotes attractions and destinations in every corner of the United States—and every state has reaped its benefits.”

The award will be presented March 24, 2015, during the 22nd Annual Destination & Travel Foundation Dinner in Washington, DC. The dinner will be sponsored by Miles, an agency who specializes in marketing destinations including Brand USA and many of its partners.

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