WASHINGTON - Leaders from Las Vegas's travel and tourism industry and business community participated in today's inaugural Connecting America Through Travel (CATT) conference in Washington D.C. The forum was organized by the U.S. Travel Association and was co-chaired by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, former chairman of U.S. Travel.
The event focused on the condition of America's travel infrastructure and how it affects the travel industry's bottom line and its prospects for growth. Transportation delays are a major inconvenience that impacts the visitors' experience and limits their spending.
"To keep the travel industry moving forward, addressing our aging transportation system is a top priority for the industry and Las Vegas," said Ralenkotter. "The CATT conference was a vital conduit for the travel and tourism industry to elevate public policy discussions with business leaders and government officials and advocate for solutions to our transportation challenges."
More than 200 people participated in the event which addressed a variety of topics from new research examining the links between infrastructure investment and growth in the travel sector to the challenges to maintaining and building efficient, connected transportation systems. A panel discussion featured Las Vegas as a national model for how transportation advocates can form new partnerships to achieve greater success in advocating their needs to elected leaders and policy makers.
The event featured a broad spectrum of speakers, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx; the Honorable Ray LaHood, the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania who now serves as the co-chair of Building America's Future; Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts; and, Roger Dow of U.S. Travel Association.
The Las Vegas delegation included U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei, U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus, Nevada Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki, Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristin McMillan, Clark Country Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis, Whittlesea Bell Transportation President and CEO Brent Bell, Regional Transportation Committee of Southern Nevada General Manager Tina Quigley, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Director Claudia Vecchio, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance President and CEO Tom Skancke.
The travel industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy, generating $2 trillion in economic output and supporting 14.6 million American jobs. In Southern Nevada, tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy, supporting 47 percent of the local workforce (383,000 jobs) and generating $45 billion in economic impact.