Roger Dow has by no means let a disaster cease him.
The outgoing CEO of the US Journey Affiliation took over in 2005 when the journey business had but to totally recuperate from the aftermath of the 9/11 assaults, and a “Fortress America” angle on the Division of Homeland Safety suppressed inbound journey.
His tenure over the following 17 years included coordinating the business’s response to the Nice Recession, the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill within the Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately the Covid-19 pandemic. .
And through his time on the helm of US Journey, he helped lead the business to file inbound visits for 10 consecutive years, from 2009 to 2019.
Dow “leaves a exceptional legacy,” stated Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Firm. In the course of the pandemic, he added, “Roger’s steadfast management has been second to none.”
Dow could step down, however he will not let go of crises within the journey business. Fairly, he’s headed for the attention of the newest storm.
“The 2 huge impediments to development within the journey business are workforce and sustainability points,” Dow stated, revealing that his subsequent enterprise, Future Work Options, will goal to resolve the resort workforce disaster within the nation, and with Forbes will create sustainability standards for motels. “I see quite a lot of strain going ahead from corporations and companies saying we’ll solely guide motels or locations which have a sustainability verify.”
Dow stated he thought of retiring when he left his profession at Marriott Worldwide in 2004 and once more in 2010 when he accomplished what was speculated to be a five-year tenure at US Journey. As an alternative, he heeded the recommendation of a buddy.
“Invoice Marriott is one in every of my mentors and finest pals in life,” Dow stated of the 90-year-old Marriott Worldwide chief government. “Three or 4 instances within the final yr, I talked about retiring, and Invoice Marriott stated, ‘By no means retire.’ He stated, “All my pals I see retiring, half get sick and die. Even if you wish to be a greeter at Walmart, do one thing to get you off the bed within the morning.” So I discovered one thing to get me off the bed within the morning.”
A vendor on Capitol Hill
Dow’s legacy is outlined by its connections in journey and Washington. He helped the group search aid and restoration for journey corporations throughout the pandemic and ultimately satisfied the White Home to repeal the federal pre-departure testing requirement for incoming air vacationers.
“Roger Dow is the rationale the US Journey Affiliation has a seat on the desk on key points affecting our business,” stated Elliott Ferguson, CEO of Vacation spot DC.
Amongst Dow’s main accomplishments is bringing the business collectively.
“When everybody works collectively, that is when issues get accredited,” he stated, pointing to the 13 visa-waiver nations that had been added throughout his tenure. He factors to South Korea to indicate how priceless a visa-waiver nation will be: 425,000 South Koreans visited the yr earlier than gaining Visa Waiver Program standing. A yr later, they had been 800,000.
From left, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Roger Dow and US Journey Govt Vice President of Public Affairs Tori Emerson Barnes. Picture Credit score: US Journey Affiliation
Dow additionally cited the launch of trusted traveler packages like TSA PreCheck and International Entry “due to the strain we placed on the federal government” and the creation of Model USA, the nation’s advertising arm. Previous to 2010, when President Barack Obama signed the US Model/Journey Promotion Act, there was no ongoing legislated authorities help for journey and tourism. The regulation was reauthorized by Congress in 2014 and 2019.
He attributes his accomplishments to a talent he honed at Marriott: gross sales. He insists that he has by no means been a lobbyist.
“I spotted that is simply gross sales, and that is what I’ve performed my complete life,” he stated. “It is sitting down with Mr. or Mrs. Congressman and saying, ‘That is what number of jobs you are shedding, that is what we’re proposing, that is what it is costing. Would it not make sense to vary this?'”
Over 20 years at DC, Dow has discovered to strategy each relationship in another way.
“Obama was somebody you possibly can discuss to firmly and he would react,” Dow stated. “When Trump got here on, I bought quite a lot of criticism: ‘You are not powerful sufficient on Trump.’ However you need to perceive the particular person you are coping with. I noticed folks go to the White Home and never stroll out with what they wished. And I stated, you already know, we’ll should take a distinct tack. “
When Penny Pritzker was Obama’s commerce secretary, Dow stated she went as much as him and stated, “Bought it, I will not be right here lengthy. What can we do? The place can we make a distinction?” I stated ‘Chinese language’.”
Pritzker helped facilitate five-year visas for college kids and 10-year visas for vacationers. The Chinese language tourism market grew from 300,000 to three.2 million in 2019, with every customer spending a mean of $7,000. “The mathematics is wonderful,” Dow stated.
“The lesson is that one measurement doesn’t match all,” he stated of political relations. “I’ve a really, superb relationship with Nancy Pelosi. I’ve an excellent relationship with Kevin McCarthy. And you’ve got to have the ability to try this.” He additionally counts as pals each Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
And its members recognize the outcomes.
“By his tireless dedication and keenness, standing by the business by each up and down, he has given tourism a nationwide identification and a voice in DC,” stated Caroline Beteta, government director of Go to California. “He understands the worth of relationships and was capable of unify the competitors to make us stronger as an entire. Nobody works more durable or has a greater humorousness than Roger, and we’re lucky to have led him by so many pivotal moments.” . moments”.