by Cheryl Anne Sturken | November 21, 2018
Kurt Ekert, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the Minneapolis-based global travel management company, was appointed to vice chair of the United States National Travel and Tourism Advisory Board by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Established in 2003, the board advises the secretary on key matters affecting U.S. travel and tourism and provides a forum for industry-related discussions.
"I am honored to be part of this team of experts who play such an important role in shaping the travel industry," said Ekert in a statement. "We will focus our efforts on attracting new visitors to America, solving current issues and continuing to positively impact the economy."
The U.S. Travel and Advisory Board is comprised of up to 32  members representing companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry from a broad range of products and services, company sizes and geographic locations. Past Boards have provided counsel on issues including travel facilitation, visa policy, infrastructure, aviation security, research, energy policy and economic sustainability. CWT's director of corporate affairs, Natalie Volin Lehr, will serve as Ekert's deputy on the board.
Ekert has more than 20 years experience in global travel, tourism and technology. He was appointed president and CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in April 2016, and prior to that he held leadership and governance positions at Cendant, Continental Airlines, eNett, GTA, Orbitz Worldwide and Travelport. Ekert currently is a director of Passur Aerospace and the World Travel & Tourism Council, an advisor to Freebird Inc. and serves on the board of the UNGA Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
In 2017, Carlson Wagonlit Travel posted a total transaction volume of more than US$23 billion. According to the company, "Every day we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms - and handle 105 events."