Hoteliers and convention and visitor bureau chiefs are among the first 11 travel and tourism industry leaders recently named to the new Corporation for Travel Promotion board of directors.

The CTP, a nonprofit corporation that will promote travel to the United States and improve the entry process, was created in March when President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act into law.

CTP board members, appointed on September 10 by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, include the following:

  • Caroline Beteta, president and chief executive, California Travel & Tourism Commission, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Stephen Cloobeck, chairman and CEO, Diamond Resorts International, Las Vegas
  • George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Co., New York
  • Daniel Halpern, president and CEO, Jackmont Hospitality Inc., Atlanta
  • Tom Klein, president, Sabre Holdings, Southlake, Texas
  • David Lim, chief marketing officer, Amtrak, Washington, D.C.
  • Mark Schwab, senior vice president–alliances, international and regulatory affairs, United Airlines, Chicago
  • Diane Shober, tourism director, State of Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyo.
  • Al Weiss, president, worldwide operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Orlando
  • Roy Yamaguchi, owner and founder, Roy’s Restaurant, Newport Beach, Calif.
  • Lynda S. Zengerle, partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C.

“We are extremely pleased to join with this diverse group of talented travel and tourism industry leaders as we work together to strengthen this important sector of the U.S. economy,” Locke said in a press release. “President Obama recognizes the critical role that attracting international visitors to the United States plays in creating jobs and growing our economy.” The board members represent various regions of the country and a range of travel and tourism industry sectors.

The CTP will be funded half through private donations and the rest from a new fee collected from foreign travelers to the U.S. through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization program. The CTP is expected to have $200 million per year to attract visitors to the United States. U.S. Travel officials say the program will be key to the Obama administration’s goal of doubling exports in five years.

Next, the CTP plans to hire an executive director, develop a global marketing strategy, and launch a private-sector fundraising effort.

"This is a momentous week in laying the groundwork for attracting millions of new visitors to our country and creating thousands of new jobs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, in a press release.

Dow’s efforts to pass the U.S. Travel Promotion Act were recognized this summer at the annual meeting of Destination Marketing Association International when the Destination & Travel Foundation announced that he will receive the 2011 Spirit of Hospitality Award.

“A long-time supporter of travel, Roger Dow has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of the industry, becoming an embodied voice for the power and positive impact that travel and tourism have on individuals, communities, and global economies. Helping to lead the industry grassroots Meetings Mean Business campaign, Dow's efforts were instrumental in helping to stem the tide of negative rhetoric directed at the travel and tourism industries, initially resulting from perceived misguided use of government bailout monies. Educating the public and political figures on the impact of the travel industry, Dow was and continues to be a swift and unfailing advocate,” said the Foundation in a release.

Dow will receive the award at the Destination & Travel Foundation's Annual Dinner and Dream Auction on February 23, 2011, in Washington, D.C.