Pam Inman entered travel and tourism in the early 1980s, working for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and, later, the Tennessee Department of Environment, where she oversaw marketing of the state's resort parks.
In the late '90s, she became president and CEO of the Tennessee Hotel & Lodging Association and the Greater Nashville Hotel & Lodging; in 2004 she moved to Washington, becoming COO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. She joined the NTA team in September 2014. A year later, Groups Today checked back with Pam Inman for some of her industry insights.
Has being NTA president changed your view of travel and tourism?
Many things are as they were in the '80s, like the camaraderie within the industry and a constant push for cities and states to have adequate funding for promoting their destinations. What's changed is, tourism gets more respect and attention than ever before. Elected officials on the federal level are increasingly realizing the tremendous economic benefit of travel and tourism to the country.
What are the greatest industry challenges?
We're always pushing government officials to fully fund the repair and development of transportation infrastructure. It sounds cliché, but millions of livelihoods—and lives—depend on safe, efficient transportation. We also want federal, state, and local officials to budget adequately for tourism marketing and for our public treasures: parks, monuments, historical places, public lands. It's an investment with a proven return.
What are some of the industry's greatest successes?
While NTA has a special interest in the China inbound market, everyone connected with U.S. tourism could applaud the recent extension of the China visa, now valid for 10 years. Giving Chinese visitors an easier return visit path means more destinations will benefit from this market that keeps growing.
Click here to read our interview with Pam Inman in its entirety in the digital edition of Groups Today magazine.