Miami, July 25, 2006. – The United States expects to strengthen bilateral tourism and travel with Latin America and the Caribbean through the participation of high-ranking officials at the 17th La Cumbre, the main travel event of the Americas, September 6-8 in Las Vegas.
Gaston Isoldi, Show Manager of La Cumbre, confirmed that representatives from the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI), US Visit, the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Patrol, will be present at the event.
U.S. officials expressed their willingness to respond to all La Cumbre participants’ inquiries in order to strengthen commercial ties within the industry among the Americas, while keeping national security a priority.
Two Hispanics with strong international expertise will be among the US officials in attendance at La Cumbre: Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. Commercial Service; and Ana Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services in the International Trade Administration.
Helen Marano and Ron Erdman, Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industry (OTTI) for the U.S. Department of Commerce will also participate.
Marano and Erdman hold key roles in the travel and tourism industries, including the supervision of international tourism plans and research on the numbers and profiles of travelers to and from the United States.
According to Rick Still, Managing Director of La Cumbre, “Our objective over the last 17 years has been to bring US and Latin American travel professionals together to showcase the great business potential that abounds in travel and tourism throughout the Hemisphere.”
The travel industry in Latin America is currently experiencing a boom. According to Latin Business Chronicle Magazine, “the region received 65.4 million visitors last year. This represented a 7.4% increase in relation to 2004, which is greater than the global average increase of 5.6%.”
In addition, 15.4 million Americans traveled by plane to Latin America, with Mexico being the preferred destination with 5.6 million of visitors, according to the United States Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.