Monday, September 21, 2015
Houston First Corporation and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau had organized the summit as part of a renewed focus on leisure tourism. The day-long event held at the George R. Brown Convention Center will feature national and regional speakers presenting on a variety of topics aimed at increasing the number of leisure travelers to the Houston area. Those whose businesses are touched by leisure travel–from restaurateurs to hotel executives and transportation operators to nightlife professionals–can learn how to maximize their reach with tourists and get a chance to learn about new resources being made available to reach their goals.
Award-winning journalist Peter Greenberg served as the keynote speaker at the summit. One of the nation’s most recognized and respected travel news professionals, Greenberg serves as he travel editor for CBS News.
Other segments of the day-long summit included panel discussions of leisure travel trends in international and domestic markets, how to use special and themed events to brand the destination and using the growing online marketplace to market and sell the tourism product. Panelists and speakers from across the country and around the region included Hugh Forrest from SXSW, Evan Saunders from Attract China, Jeanne Liu from Brand USA and Jo Leighton from HotelBeds USA.
The summit is part of multi-pronged effort announced in April to increase the volume of annual visitors to the city by 30% to 20 million by 2018. The region is already one of the fastest growing destinations for leisure travelers, with 120,000 jobs tied to the hospitality industry, which contributes $15.5 billion to the local economy.