Skift Take

Seventeen years is a long time to sit atop any organization. Roger Dow's retirement coincides with a larger reset for travel emerging from the pandemic. Who leads the USTA next will say a lot about a commitment to break from the past and redefine tourism for a new era.

Roger Dow, the CEO of the U.S.’ main travel lobby group, the U.S. Travel Association, will retire as CEO in July, 2022, after 17 years leading the organization, the association said Wednesday.

The USTA did not name a successor.

Dow’s announcement comes after a year of working tirelessly through the pandemic to secure federal relief for hard-hit travel businesses, and to open up international travel after public health improvements were made in many countries. That effort included a coordinated sponsored content campaign by USTA in publications like Politico to lift travel bans.

During his extended tenure, Dow shepherded legislation that resulted in the creation of Brand USA, the country’s destination marketing organization, and oversaw record inbound travelers to the United States. In a statement, Brand USA also said Dow is responsible for “developing policies and programs that enabled domestic and international inbound travel to thrive by ensuring an understanding of travel and tourism as a linchpin of the American economy.”

Dow added: “It’s my aim, every day, to champion the immense benefits of this tremendous industry and all the good travel does for communities and millions of American workers. I am deeply committed to working with the board and our talented team to continue leading our recovery and ensure that U.S. Travel is on a firm trajectory for its next CEO.”

Of course, Dow was criticized during the Trump years for not being outspoken enough about some of the former president’s restrictive travel policies.

Before joining the USTA, Dow spent 34 years at Marriott International, becoming senior vice president of global and field sales.

U.S. Travel National Chair Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in the coming months she will name a search committee to find Dow’s replacement. An internal favorite will most certainly be Tori Barnes, the USTA’s executive vice president for public affairs and policy who has had an increasingly higher profile.


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Tags: tourism, u.s. travel association

Photo credit: Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, is set to retire in 2022. U.S. Travel

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