|By Monique Newton, The Sun News, Myrtle
Beach, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 2, 2010--On Tuesday afternoon, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, told tourism leaders gathered for the state Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism that their industry must work harder to convince Americans that the industry is important.
"When I look at this industry, we're nice boys and girls. We put on good shows and people love us. We're like the drama club, but we need to be like the football team," he said. "This industry is a front door to economic development."
Dow told attendees that they need to do a better job of telling others why the travel industry matters for jobs. One in eight Americans is employed in this industry, making it two and half times as large as the country's automobile industry, he said.
"We've got to stand up for that," Dow said. "We've got to show why travel matters to jobs."
The industry needs to work on ways to make the customs system less complex so that it does not dissuade international travelers from coming, Dow said.
When visitors were asked in a survey about what is the biggest hurdle for coming to the United States, 42 percent said crime and terrorism and 58 percent said going through customs, he reported.
"We've got a system that's broken. Let's face it," Dow said. "We need a way that people can travel safely and without friction."
Check back to TheSunNews.com for more updates on the S.C. Governor's Conference on Tourism and Travel.
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