On behalf of the Keep America Meeting campaign, the U.S. Travel Association has delivered to the U.S. Senate more than 21,000 petition signatures in support of meetings, incentives and events, it announced yesterday.
"The Keep America Meeting campaign galvanized our industry by giving individuals a collective voice to speak out about the importance of meetings, events and incentive travel programs," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "Keep America Meeting is an important grassroots component of our overall Meetings Mean Business campaign. The many petition signatures allow us to tangibly demonstrate the widespread support of this issue to Washington, D.C."
The U.S. Travel Association—represented by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and Carlson Hotels President and CEO Jay Witzel—presented the Keep America Meeting signatures last week to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation during its Senate Hearing on Travel, the subject of which was "Tourism in Troubled Times."
"We launched the Keep America Meeting campaign so people in all areas of this industry could have one forum where they could show their support," said Alison Smith Jenks, creator of the Keep America Meeting petition and vice president of marketing for TBA Global. "Now that the signatures have been delivered, Keep America Meeting will continue its grassroots initiative to educate and activate individuals involved in meetings, events and incentive travel."
In partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, and with support from the Event Marketing Institute, TBA Global launched Keep America Meeting on behalf of the meetings and events industry in February 2009 in response to the "AIG effect," which resulted in negative public criticism for meetings and events in the media and in Congress. Part of a larger public awareness campaign, the petition collected signatures from individuals in all 50 states, as well as foreign countries, not to mention from individuals in all facets of the meetings, events and incentive travel industry, including bellmen, housekeepers, event producers, meeting planners, hotel managers and more.