Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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NATIONAL AGENDA TO STRENGTHEN MEETINGS INDUSTRY COMMENCES TERM AS CHAIR OF THE U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION LAS VEGAS CEO RALENKOTTER CALLS FOR Rossi Ralenkotter, president & CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, recently called for a new national agenda to strengthen the future of the $460 billionmeetings and events industry.Ralenkotter issued the call to action as he began his term as chairman of the U.S. Travel Association. "Meetings and conventions are a major driver of the economy in every community across America, supporting more than six million jobs for American workers," said Ralenkotter. "We need to support and strengthen this industry by establishing a new agenda for change that promotes the value of business travel to the economy and to cor- porate bottom lines." At a symposium with major meeting planners and associations, Ralenkotter released a new white paper identifying three major trends that will impact the future of the meetings industry: per- ceived availability of new technology and substitutes for face-to-face meetings; pressure to cut costs in busi- ness and government agencies; and increasing challenges to long haul travel. "In Las Vegas, we pride ourselves as being the 'meetings capital of the world' – from trade shows and job fairs, to corporate board meetings and company sales meetings, we understand the value of face-to-face meet- ings. As chairman of the U.S. Travel Association, I see an opportunity for the entire industry to work togeth- er to build a stronger future and take a seat at the table in Washington." The U.S. Travel Association is the preeminent trade association representing all aspects of the travel indus- try – including hotels, destinations, transport, attractions, meeting planners and rental car companies. Ralenkotter will serve as chairman through June 2013. Ralenkotter has nearly 40 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. He also served as chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism. PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER FOR THE GRAND GOLF RESORTS OF FLORIDA COLLECTION FEATURES INNISBROOK, REUNION AND HAMMOCK BEACH RESORTS SALAMANDER HOTELS & RESORTS APPOINTS KELLI ROBINSON AS Salamander Hotels & Resorts has appointed Kelli Robinson as the public relations manager for its Grand Golf Resorts of Florida collection, which includes Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay,Reunion Resort in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. From the Gulf to theAtlantic,Grand Golf Resorts of Florida features 1,250 spacious villas and homes, numerous family-oriented activities and 162 holes of golf designed by golf greats Jack Nicklaus,Arnold Palmer,TomWatson and Larry Packard. Before joining the Salamander team,Robinson spent nearly four years working in the communications department ofVISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corpo- ration for the State of Florida. A graduate of FloridaA&M University, Robinson will help position the Grand Golf Resorts of Florida as one of the strongest golf collections in the country. She is a member of the Public Relations Society ofAmerica (PRSA) and the Florida PublicRelationsAssociation (FPRA).Robinson served on the FPRACapital Chapter's 2009-2010 board of directors as the website communications&emerging tech- nologies co-chair.While serving on the board of directors, she assisted in the redesign of the Capital Chapter's website and social media efforts. 6 Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012: NEWSMAKERS

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