WASHINGTON, DC – From beer to barbecue to baseball to beaches, destination marketers in over 130 US cities plan major events to mark National Travel and Tourism Week’s (NTTW) “Rally Day” next Tuesday, May 6.
In almost every case, the celebrations, under the banner theme of “Travel Effect,” involve the opportunity for food, drink and activities with a distinct local flavor—and a clear message that travel and tourism is a driver of local economic growth.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, NTTW was established by Congress and signed into law by Ronald Reagan to focus national attention on the many positive contributions of travel. “[T]ourism contributes substantially both to personal growth, health and education, and to intercultural appreciation of the geography, history and people of the United States,” according to the 1983 enabling act, as well as bringing a host of benefits to local, state and federal economies.
“NTTW celebrations have only gotten bigger and more innovative over time,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Some of the things going on around the country this year certainly befit the thirtieth anniversary.”
For example, baseball archrivals St. Louis and Chicago are each giving away four-day trips for four that include Cubs-vs.-Cardinals games in each other’s cities.
Philadelphia is promoting a local “3.2-day itinerary” in honor of the number of days of paid leave the average American worker leaves unused each year (much to their own detriment). The itinerary will be online on May 2.
Grand Rapids, Michigan is celebrating its 2013 election as “Beer City USA” with a special tasting and other activities—one of a number of cities to mark the occasion with beer-related activities.
Memphis is pulling out all the stops with a spread of barbecue, blues and a “pop-up vacation” being offered to patrons in its downtown Court Square.
Information on Rally Day activities across the country is available on the U.S. Travel Association web site.
“As a country, we have to get behind the idea that travel is not only about fun and leisure,” said Dow. “A growing body of evidence shows us that it’s about our personal well-being, the well-being of our familial relationships, and the well-being of our economy. Recognizing NTTW as a national event shows that our political leaders understand all that. Now, as individuals, we have to take the time to move around and learn about all that there is to do around the country.”
New to NTTW this year is the “What’s Your Travel Effect?” video contest. Entrants are invited to share, in 60 seconds or less, how travel positively benefits their life for a chance to win a travel package from Expedia. Submissions are welcome from Saturday, May 3 through Sunday, May 11.