Ore. executive to head U.S. tourism board

Ore. executive to head U.S. tourism board

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by Joe Smith

Bio | Email | Follow: @JoeSmithKGW

kgw.com

Posted on January 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 23 at 9:00 PM

PORTLAND -- Travel Oregon's chief executive officer will be taking the lead in President Obama's U.S.Travel and Tourism Advisory board.

President Obama wants to increase travel across the nation and Internationally.

"America is open for business and that we want to welcome you," the President said last week at Walt Disney World. 

Obama laid out his plan to increase International tourism through the U.S.Travel and Tourism Advisory board and said Oregon's Todd Davidson would lead the way. He said the goal was, "Making it as safe and simple as possible to visit, helping business all across the country grow and creating jobs."

Last year, international tourists spent $139.4 billion dollars in the United States.

"So if we see impediments to travel, if we see opportunities we can better capitalize on, we can become more efficient," said Davidson.

He said that should include making it easier for Chinese tourists to renew their Visas.

"In 2000, the United States had a 17% market share of all International visitation. By 2010, that number had dropped to 11%," said Davidson.

He explained that this was a rebuilding year for U.S. tourism and the advisory board will have 90 days to devise a strategy.

Davidson's track record in Oregon will be a model for the country.

"We did not take our foot off the throttle on our international marketing promotions," he said.

Even during the recession, Oregon tourism jumped 8% from 2009 to 2010. Today, it contributes $8.7 billion to the state economy and more than 90,000 jobs.

"Every time we spend $1 we generate $193 in new visitor spending and $8 in state and local tax revenue," noted Davidson.

The United States was one of the few country's without a national tourism office - until now. With the passage of The Travel Promotion Act, an International ad campaign will debut this spring.

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