Expert Panel Discusses Navigating the Trillion Dollar
Traveling Industry in These Times
Travel Forum Highlights Trends, Security and the Impact of Recent Travel-Related Incidents
Washington, D.C.– An expert panel of travel industry experts convened last week in Washington, D.C. to shed light on trends and the ways in which today’s unique sets of circumstances have impacted the travel business, leisure travelers, the economy and our society.
Created by Meet Puerto Rico (MPR), the destination marketing organization (DMO) responsible for attracting meetings, conventions, trade shows, sporting events and incentive groups to Puerto Rico, the panel included CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg; American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) President John Graham; Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) President Don Welsh; Tammy Blount, FCDME, President and CEO, Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau and incoming chairperson of DMAI; President, CEO of Meet Puerto Rico and Milton Segarra. The event was moderated by Jack Speer, National Public Radio host.
They discussed destination positioning and its economic development implications, travel habits among the millennial generation, travel ban issues, and the interaction between state and municipal officials. Other points covered were the recent airline passenger events, the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, international travel and changes in passport and visa regulations.
The panel broke down these issues as well as safety and security and their impact on traveling. Even traveling with family and business travel has become more complex leading the panel to spend time discussing how important it is for destination marketers to be aware of these changes, how to serve clients and how to market their venues.
“It is well-known that this has been a year of changes. We have entered the new normal,” said Milton Segarra, CDME, President and CEO, Meet Puerto Rico. “Safety, security, financial situations, government changes, Zika and healthcare are some of the major trending topics. As an industry we speak the same language and want to provide a safe, secure and enjoyable travel experience. It is our hope that this forum is the start of a conversation that helps us face these issues and work together to find solutions.”
According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel is big business in the United States with 2.2 billion person-trips that Americans took for business and leisure purposes in 2015. U.S. travel exports totaled $246 billion and international travel imports totaled $148 billion, creating a $98 billion travel trade surplus.
The Traveling in These Times forum was held at the National Press Club’s First Amendment Room in Washington, D.C.