Thursday, May 14, 2009

National Travel and Tourism Week Rally Shows Why “Tourism Matters” to Vancouver

Southwest Washington CVB Brings Together Local Members of the Community to Showcase
the Importance of Travel and Tourism During National Travel and Tourism Week

May 12, 2009 – Highlighted by the tagline “Tourism Matters,” today the Southwest Washington
Convention and Visitors Bureau kicked off National Travel and Tourism Week with a rally at
Esther Short Park to show firsthand how tourism benefits Clark County.

“Travel and tourism plays a key role in the Clark County economy,” said Kim
Bennett, president and CEO of the Southwest Washington CVB. “Our community relies on
travel for tax revenue and jobs and the benefits these bring to our economy. With today’s event
we hope to raise awareness and showcase why travel matters to Clark County.”

With business, meetings and event travel facing steep declines across America, nationwide
events throughout National Travel and Tourism Week will emphasize the economic benefits
travel and tourism brings to local workers and communities and demonstrate the importance of
travel. This event is part of a larger effort led by the U.S. Travel Association with rallies in
dozens of cities nationwide.

In Clark County the travel industry employs 4,000 and contributes $392 million to the economy.

Travel industry employees include everyone from hotel employees and restaurant workers to cab drivers and meetings planners who serve visitors to the area.

“I rely heavily on travelers’ spending to make my living and support my family,” said Savanna
Martinez, Lead Front Desk Supervisor at The Heathman Lodge. “Travelers and visitors to
Vancouver are what give me my job and keep me employed.”

Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries, with $740 billion in direct travel
expenditures by domestic and international travelers. The industry also represents one of
America’s largest employers with 7.7 million direct travel-generated jobs and $189 billion in
travel-generated payroll. However, according to U.S. Labor Department data, the U.S. Travel
Association reported a loss of nearly 200,000 travel related jobs in 2008 and predicts a loss of an additional 247,000 travel-generated jobs in 2009.

“Locally, tourism helps fund some of our most essential public services like education and law
enforcement,” said Gerry Link, General Manager of Hilton Vancouver Washington. “The travel
industry is facing tough times, but it’s important for people to understand the key role travel can
play in helping to solve our economic challenges on both the local and national level.”

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