Roger Dow will remain in his current role as president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association for another four years, the organization's board of directors announced last Thursday. Dow took the helm of the association in 2005, and quickly initiated big-picture changes that helped transform U.S. Travel into a highly influential entity in Washington, D.C. Dow is regularly summoned to the White House to offer the travel industry's perspective on policy matters. The most recent such meeting took place in May, when Dow and other high-level industry representatives spent 45 minutes with President Obama. The session immediately preceded the president's news conference renewing his call to increase inbound international travel to the U.S. to 100 million annual visitors by 2021. Among key achievement's since Dow's leadership:
• The association's budget has doubled.
• U.S. Travel orchestrated the passage of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, enabling the creation of Brand USA, the country's first national travel and tourism promotion agency.
• U.S. Travel successfully lobbied for policy changes that reduced the average wait time for visas from months to days in key overseas tourism markets, such as Brazil and China.
• Thousands of personnel have been added to Customs and Border Protection to ease the process of travelers entering the United States.
• More than a dozen countries have been added to the highly successful Visa Waiver program, bringing the total to 38 participating countries.
Commented Dow, "When I first took this job, I figured it would be five years before I was playing golf in Florida every day. But the truth is, it's much more fun to play in the sandbox that is advancing travel issues alongside my terrific team and our phenomenal board. This is the best job in the world, and I want to thank the board for allowing me to keep doing it for another four years."