The U.S. Travel Association today announced the appointment of Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, as its new national chair. Abrahamson, who previously served as first vice chair, succeeds Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter in this role. He will serve as national chair through December 2014.
"It is with great excitement that we welcome Jim as our new national chair," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "With the travel industry operating as one of the most vigorous sectors of the U.S. economy and ranking as America's No. 1 services export, Jim takes the reins at an opportune time to drive greater growth and promote policies that will keep travel operating on all cylinders. Jim's travel expertise and proven experience engaging a diverse set of stakeholders – from policymakers to consumers – make him an excellent individual to serve as national chair, and we look forward to his leadership."
In this capacity with U.S. Travel, Abrahamson will work to further strengthen the association's role as the premier voice and advocate for travel issues in Washington, D.C. and help to achieve its mission to grow travel to and within the United States. He has identified the following three priorities:
• Drive revenues across the U.S. travel industry and expand growth in new and existing markets;
• Champion travel's importance to the U.S. economy; and
• Ensure an enjoyable and rewarding travel experience by lowering the barriers to travel and encouraging investment.
"Given travel's tremendous contributions to the U.S. economy, its newfound appreciation from Administration and Congressional leaders, and growing roster of champions, it truly is a new day in Washington for this industry," said Abrahamson. "In this 'new day,' U.S. Travel can be even more effective in shaping policies that will make travel safer and more welcoming for everyone, which will in turn help drive increased U.S. growth and job creation. The opportunities are boundless, and I am honored to serve in this leadership capacity at this momentous time."
As CEO and executive director of the board of Arlington, Va.-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts – the leading U.S.-based global hotel management company – Abrahamson oversees the company's overall performance and strategic global growth of the company's management portfolio, including nearly 360 hotels with more than 69,000 rooms spanning 10 countries. He joined Interstate Hotels & Resorts from InterContinental Hotels Group, where he was president of the Americas region, its largest operating unit, and previously held key leadership positions with Hyatt Corporation, Marcus Corporation and Hilton Worldwide.
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The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.