Santa Barbara, CA (April 30, 2014) — Visit Santa Barbara joins the celebration of travel and tourism in the US by hosting their Annual General Meeting during National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3rd – 11th). First celebrated in 1984 and organized by the U.S. Travel Association, National Travel & Tourism Week is a reminder of the importance and power of travel. This year’s national theme revolves around U.S. Travel’s current campaign, the Travel Effect, which proves that the travel experience and the travel industry as a whole actually has a measurable and purposeful impact on our daily lives.

In the midst of National Travel & Tourism Week, Visit Santa Barbara is hosting their Annual General Meeting & Tourism Luncheon on May 7th. Sasha Strauss, renowned thought leader of “Branding in the New Normal,” is the keynote speaker. His 18 years in the industry have shaped his expertise on branding and made him sought after by some of the world’s largest organizations to help build their brands. Visit Santa Barbara will also be announcing the new I AM Santa Barbara County program at the luncheon. I AM Santa Barbara County is an interactive destination training program designed to empower the hospitality industry and community with knowledge about Santa Barbara County, that ultimately will lead to a better visitor experience.

“Aligning with the national trend that travel is an elemental part of a community’s fiscal growth—and often surpassing it in local economic impact and positive traveler experience—the Santa Barbara South Coast progressively embraces tourism as a key economic driver,” said Visit Santa Barbara President and CEO Kathy Janega-Dykes. “I AM Santa Barbara County is a testament to this. The innovative program creates positive traveler experiences while in-market by empowering the special connection between visitors and local businesses, ultimately encouraging return visitation and fueling the local economy.”

As part of the Travel Effect campaign, the U.S. Travel Association commissioned a study to understand why workers are not using all of their paid time off (PTO) and what the benefits would be if they did. The study found that 429 million paid time off days went unused by American workers (an average of 3+ unused PTO days per worker). If workers used all of their available paid time off, the U.S. economy would gain $160 billion in additional annual business sales, which would support 1.2 million new jobs and generate $21 billion in new annual tax revenues. Santa Barbara would benefit as well, already attracting a solid 6.1 million visitors in 2013, generating

over $1.5 billion in visitor related spending and supporting over 12,000 tourism-related jobs, these numbers would increase if workers used more of their earned paid time off days.1

“It is now empirical, rather than just anecdotal, that travel is a key driver for improving individual health and strengthening our businesses and economy,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Travel holds measurable benefits for our minds, bodies, relationships, businesses and economy. Travel should be celebrated every day.”

Learn more about the Travel Effect at


Visit Santa Barbara is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization jointly funded by the City of Santa Barbara, the County of Santa Barbara, the South Coast Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) and by a membership of hospitality-related businesses. The primary mission of Visit Santa Barbara is to enhance the economies of the City of Santa Barbara, South Coast communities and Santa Barbara County areas through tourism marketing that increases business revenue, tax revenue and creates jobs. Stay informed about Santa Barbara news with our Media Center, press releases and blog,


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