Forum to discuss tourism |

Forum to discuss tourism

International visitors spent $14.4 billion in January, according to new statistics released in March by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Travel and tourism industries have actually come back from the “Great Recession” at a much faster pace than other areas of the U.S. economy, according to government statistics.

At the same time, the Obama administration, in partnership with the travel and tourism industry, is budgeted to spend $150 million in 2013 for the “Discover America, Brand USA” campaign. The campaign has offices in nine countries, working to promote U.S. travel to tour operators and media, and is scheduled to open six more, including offices in China and India. More than 1 million Chinese visitors came to the U.S. in 2011, up from 493,000 in 2008. The Commerce Department reported that it expects arrivals to rise 259 percent between 2011 and 2017.

How Tahoe South can make the most of this trend will be a main topic for the Annual Tourism Forum scheduled for April 18 in Harveys Cabaret Theater. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority co-sponsors the Tourism Forum with the TahoeChamber. This event is also supported by El Dorado County and the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts. It has evolved into an incredible educational opportunity that would be difficult for to obtain without traveling outside of Tahoe.

One of the headliners for the forum is Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. Beteta is in charge of implementing Visit California’s $50 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $102.3 billion travel industry. Under her leadership, California’s share of U.S. domestic travel has grown by 1.3 percent — the equivalent of about 39 million trips in 2011.

Denise Pirrotti Hummel is the CEO and founder of Universal Consensus and a cross-cultural strategist. She helps clients prepare for and attract international visitors. Hummel was recently the keynote speaker at Visit California China Ready conference in Beverly Hills. Hummel and her colleague Andreas Fried will be talking about the “changing visitor.” This refers to visitors that are younger, as well as visitors that are more ethnically and culturally diverse. They will provide tips for a culturally sophisticated guest service philosophy that appeals to a more global audience.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority mission is to market the South Shore of Lake Tahoe as a unique, world-class year-round resort destination. Beteta and Hummel will bring a wealth of knowledge and insights about what international and domestic tourists are expecting and how we can best attract them to Tahoe South.

The forum will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. There will be a business after-hours mixer from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission to the forum costs $15 for TahoeChamber members and $25 for nonmembers.

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