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Travel Industry Launches Nationwide Hunt for New Spokespeople

‘Faces of Travel’ Highlights Workers Affected by Assault on Business Meetings,
Need for Policies that Promote Travel


April 13, 2009 - The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) is encouraging the thousands of people working in the city’s tourism industry to participate in the “Faces of Travel” a nationwide search for spokespeople that best represent the vitality and importance of travel in America.

The program was created by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) as part of their “Meetings Mean Business” campaign to counteract the effects of recent criticism of business meetings and events, combined with America’s struggling economy.
 
“Recently, high-profile public companies that received emergency funding from the government have been criticized for using taxpayer dollars on travel for meetings, events and incentive programs.  Critics of these companies have mislabeled meetings and events as lavish and unnecessary.  As a result, any business that holds meetings or rewards its employees is thinking twice before it devotes resources to travel,” said Joe D’Alessandro, SFCVB president and CEO.  “The consequences of a decline in travel for meetings and events are significant, considering that visitors attending meetings and conventions creates $2 billion in spending and supports more than 25,000 jobs in San Francisco.”  
 
“Fortunately, President Obama has acknowledged the importance of the travel industry and is encouraging Americans to travel as one of the fastest ways to stimulate the economy,” D’Alessandro added.
 
“When business travel decreases, the unintended victims are the American workers and the communities that rely on travel for jobs and tax revenue,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “It is time to give those workers a face in our skewed national discussion.  Travel – and the millions of jobs it creates in cities and towns across the country – is a solution to America’s economic challenges.” 
 
The “Faces of Travel” initiative invites employees in the travel industry to submit 45-60 second videos detailing why travel is vital to them, their company and their community and how they help to build a stronger American economy.  The winner (or winners) will be a spokesperson for the campaign, and interact with the media, policymakers and other stakeholders.
 
The “Faces of Travel” contest and runs through Wednesday, April 24 at noon EST. Submission videos can be uploaded to www.meetingsmeanbusiness.com/facesoftravel.  Videos will be screened and then made public on a live You Tube channel that has been created for the imitative.  At the conclusion of the contest, U.S. Travel representatives will review the submissions and announce a winner or winners.

 
One out of every eight jobs in the United States is linked to travel.  The U.S. Labor Department reported a loss of nearly 200,000 travel-related jobs in 2008, and their data suggests an additional 247,000 travel-generated jobs will be lost in 2009.  Business travel accounts for 2.4 million American jobs.  Business travel injects more than $240 billion into the national economy annually and generates $39 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.  Specifically, meetings and events generate $101 billion in spending, $27 billion in wages for hardworking Americans and $16 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local level.  
 
The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization that markets the City as a leisure, convention and business travel destination.  With more than 1,700 members, the SFCVB is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country. Tourism, San Francisco's largest industry, generates in excess of $8.2 billion annually for the local economy. For more information, call 415-974-6900 or visit www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.
 
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel’s mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. For more information, visit www.ustravel.org.



Contact:

Laurie Armstrong
Vice President, Public Affairs
San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
201 Third Street,Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103-3185
T 415-227-2615 F 415-227-2602 M 415-290-6830
larmstrong@sanfrancisco.travel


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