by Loren G. Edelstein | April 17, 2017

Representatives from every corner of the travel and tourism industry will meet in New York City on Wednesday, April 19, for the inaugural Secure Tourism Summit, hosted by the U.S. Travel Association. The event marks the first time the U.S. Travel Association has convened the entire industry -- including hotels, destination marketers, airlines and professional sports - to address security challenges facing stadiums, convention centers, airports, attractions and other venues where visitors gather.

U.S. government officials, as well as law enforcement, cyber-security and operations specialists, will join travel leaders to discuss preparation strategies, planning and prevention, communication and crisis response, and reputational management.

Featured speakers and experts include:

  • Jeh Johnson, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2013-2017);
  •  Ari Fleischer, president of Ari Fleischer Communications and former White House press secretary (2001-2003);
  • Frances Townsend, national security analyst, CBS News; assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism (2004-2008);
  • John Skinner, senior director of security and facility management, Major League Baseball;
  • Jorge Costa, senior vice president, operations and facilities, San Francisco Giants;
  • Kathleen Matthews, chair, Maryland Democratic Party and former chief communications and public affairs officer, Marriott International;
  • Laurie Barnett, managing director of communications, preparedness and outreach, Southwest Airlines;
  • Steve E. Georgas, chief security officer, Chicago Police Department - Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority;
  • Renee Guttmann-Stark, chief information security officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.;
  • Royal Hansen, senior vice president, IT risk and information security, American Express;
  • Ray Suppe, executive director for customer safety, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; and
  • Fred Dixon, president and CEO, NYC & Company.


"I am a firm believer in finding the correct balance between travel facilitation and security," said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. "Threat mitigation is top of mind for travel businesses and leaders, because without security, there can be no travel. The Secure Tourism Summit is a unique opportunity for the travel and tourism industry to gather and share best practices, and discuss how we can ensure the safety of every traveler before, during and after any potential security situation.

"Security and an efficient, customer-friendly experience can and should go hand-in-hand," Dow added. "We are fortunate to have a phenomenal panel of experts to help our industry unite around standards that will let travelers have both."

In keeping with the theme of balancing security and efficiency, all registered attendees will have the opportunity to enroll on-site in TSA PreCheck at the event. TSA PreCheck is an expedited screening program that enables pre-vetted, low-risk air travelers to enjoy a smarter, more efficient airport security experience. Representatives from IdentoGO by MorphoTrust USA, an event sponsor, will be on hand to assist attendees who have completed an online pre-enrollment form before the conference.

Learn more about the Secure Tourism Summit and register to attend here. All events will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City.