I'm sitting in a travel editor's conference in DC this morning. Speaker of this moment is Roger Dow, head of the US Travel Association, a trade advocacy group.He's talking about the importance of the travel industry both to the economy and to person-to-person diplomacy worldwide.
Some stats: travel and tourism in the US generates $740 billion industry, employs 1 in 8 Americans directly, creates $20 billion in positive trade.Five percent more Americans intend to take vacations inm the coming year than intended to do so a year ago -- though those may be shorter and closer to home than in some previous years.
The subject of meetings and conventions have come up. It's a hot topic in the wake of the AIG mess, and between negative publicity and a bad economy, perhaps as much as $1 billion in meetings was cancelled in January and February.Undoutedly some meetings and conventions are boondoggles -- but many are serious business meetings. This meeting I'm attending is so valuable to me that I have paid all expenses out of my personal pocket.
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