Trade group emphasizes 'effects' of travel in new effort

WASHINGTON: The US Travel Association is kicking off a campaign that aims to convey the "effects" of travel from the medicinal, romantic, and financial perspectives.

WASHINGTON: The US Travel Association is kicking off a campaign that aims to convey the “effects” of travel from the medicinal, romantic, and financial perspectives.

The “Travel Effect” effort is more consumer-facing than other initiatives the trade group has created, which have focused on policymakers, such as the “Vote Travel” campaign launched last January.

“The campaign helps consumers understand the benefits associated with travel on a personal level,” said Geoff Freeman, COO at the US Travel Association.

The push focuses on research on economic impact, as well as some non-traditional stats like effect on relationships, childhood development, and memories, Freeman said. For instance, two in three couples surveyed by the trade association said they felt more in love after a vacation.

Each statistic is derived from a different methodology. For instance, the measurement of travel's impact on business is based on economic analysis, while other projects will be conducted through phone or online surveys.

Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association, said that a change in focus was necessary.

“We've had great success getting government officials to understand the impact of travel on the economy, but the strategy for this is different. It's about beginning to tell the story of what it means to consumers,” he said.

The trade association has been active in conducting awareness campaigns in recent years, especially after President Barack Obama said in 2009 to executives that “you can't get corporate jets. You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer's dime.”

The remark targeted Wall Street executives asking for government bailouts, but Freeman said it made regular consumers feel uncomfortable about travel.

“It was a real wake-up call for the industry,” Freeman said. “There was a lack of awareness about why people travel.”

The trade group hopes the “Travel Effect” effort, which will include traditional and social media outreach, will get organizations like the AARP or the Harvard School of Public Health to work with it to find promotable data about the effects of travel.

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