@IGLTA – IGLTA Represents LGBT Travel at Meeting with U.S. Government Officials


IGLTA Represents LGBT Travel at Meeting with U.S. Government Officials
Senior members of Obama administration and travel industry leaders from the public sector discuss ways to increase U.S. tourism
Washington, D.C.(March 27, 2014)–The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association was the sole LGBT organization included in a discussion between U.S. travel industry leaders and senior administration officials at the White House on March 20. The briefing highlighted ways to promote U.S. tourism by improving customs and other border procedures that foreign visitors face when they visit the United States.

Administration officials gave an update on the economy and discussed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies work to promote tourism while protecting borders. The briefing included a discussion on ways to improve tourists’ experiences by upgrading U.S. points of entry as well as panels on infrastructure development and travel promotion.

“It was an honor to receive an invitation to this meeting. It demonstrates the administration’s ongoing commitment to LGBT inclusion and the increased importance placed on LGBT travel,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella, who represented the association at the White House. “I was able to engage in some frank dialogue about the need for better treatment of same-sex couples as they go through U.S. customs.”

Leaders from several IGLTA member businesses and partner organizations were included: the United States Tour Operators Association, American Airlines, NYC & Company, Choose Chicago, LA Convention & Visitors Board, and the American Society of Travel Agents.

“Partnerships between government and industry are benefiting the entire travel and tourism sector,” said Ken Hyatt, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. “The Obama administration is committed to building upon the efforts of these partnerships and exploring new alliances as we strive to meet the ambitious goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to attract 100 million visitors to the United States by 2021.”

Senior White House officials who participated in the briefing included: Dr. Mark Doms, Under Secretary of Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce; Ali Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Ken Hyatt, Acting Undersecretary, International Trade Administration; Ed Ramotowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State; John Pistole, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kevin McAleenan, Acting Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service; Bruce Andrews, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Commerce; Brandon Belford, Senior Policy Advisor, National Economic Council; and Sam Brown, Director, White House Business Council.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism and a proud Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. In 2013, the association signed on to ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct to prevent child exploitation. The association’s membership includes LGBT and LGBT-friendly accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media in more than 75 countries. For more information, visit www.iglta.org and follow us at http://www.facebook.com/IGLTA or www.twitter.com/iglta. For information on our Annual Global Convention in Madrid, May 8-10, please visit www.igltaconvention.org.

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