U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker todayannounced the appointment of 32 members to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board,including Kurt Ekert, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Wagonlit Travel(CWT).
The Board, established in 2003, serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. Its members represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including transportation services, financial services, hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms across the country.
“The travel and tourism industry supports millions of American jobs and is a major driverof our nation’s economy,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Travel and Tourism Advisory Board offers important guidance and strategies that facilitate collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors to ensure that America remains an attractive destination forinternational visitors for years to come.”
Ekert’s appointment continues the legacy of service started by CWT parent company, Carlson. Carlson has had three CEOs serve on the TTAB Board: Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Hubert Joly and Trudy Rautio.
“The TTAB is undertaking exciting and important work to increase travel and tourism to the United States, and are we deeply committed to its success,” said Carlson Board Chair Diana Nelson, who nominated Ekert. “Kurt will continue Carlson’s longstanding leadership in this effort and bring a valuable new set of skills to the board.”
Prior to joining CWT as president and CEO in April, Ekert served as executive vicepresident and chief commercial officer of Travelport, a travel commerce platform providing distribution, technology and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. Ekert has also held senior roles at Continental Airlines and spent four years as an active duty U.S. Army officer. He currently serves as a director of Passur Aerospace, a providerof predictive analytics to the aviation industry, and an advisor to Freebird, an early stage travel technology company.