Helen Marano is the Director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries which serves as the National Tourism Office for the United States. She has worked in the travel and tourism industry for 18 years.
I am writing you from Pow Wow in sunny Miami. Pow Wow is the travel and tourism industry’s premier international sales and marketing event. It’s great to be here with a strong federal presence from the Departments of State and Homeland Security, as well as our Travel & Tourism Team from the U.S. Commercial Service. Part of our mission at Pow Wow is to educate international travel leaders about new entry and exit programs and provide the latest information about U.S. travel destinations programs, and inbound visitation statistics.
It’s exciting to see over 4,000 attendees here from all over the world. They’re folks from State Tourism offices, cities, attractions, hotels, travel journalists and foreign buyers of U.S. travel and tourism products and services. It is great to see commerce at work with more than 50,000 appointments between buyers and sellers taking place this week. These negotiations typically generate over $3 billion in future travel to the United States.
Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at Pow Wow’s closing luncheon. He said, “I am especially pleased to note that travel and tourism is responsible for over one-fourth of all services exports for the United States. And for the 20th consecutive year, travel and tourism produced a travel trade surplus for the U.S. – a record $29.7 billion.” He went on to say, “What is impossible to count are the friendships that were formed, the perspectives that were broadened, or the discoveries that were made about a new culture and country as a result of traveling to the United States.”
Events like Pow Wow are an excellent opportunity for individual destinations like Miami to showcase their attractions and venues to international buyers. Pow Wow shows how resilient the travel and tourism industry is and what an engine it is for economic growth. Events such as Pow Wow help generate more visitors to the U.S., more dollars spent, and more jobs created.