We learned this lesson with swine flu in Mexico, with AIG at a resort, and now with oil in the Gulf: Meetings and travel are always in danger of death by a thousand sound bites. The U.S. Travel Association, the powerful voice of the industry, has lately strengthened its resolve to counteract those sound bites with marketing, research, statistics—and connections in the most powerful of places. In a report prepared for U.S. Travel in July, Oxford Economics analyzed 25 previous natural and ...

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