President Obama

President Obama speaks about his new tourism plan in Disney World.

Our President & CEO, Bob Lynch, is always on the road extolling the virtues of the arts and arts education on behalf of our members and the general public.

Recently, Bob spent a whirlwind week talking about tourism, business partnerships, and advocacy in Orlando, Houston, and Miami.

In Orlando, Bob was sworn in for a two-year term as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Board. He was honored to receive the appointment and feels it is a great opportunity for the organization and the field.

The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. The board consists of up to 32 members that advise the Secretary of Commerce on government policies and programs that affect the U.S. travel and tourism industry, offers counsel on current and emerging issues, and provides a forum for discussing and proposing solutions to industry-related problems.

Little did he know that he and the Advisory Board would also have the opportunity to experience a critical press conference held by President Obama (right in the middle of Disney World’s Main Street USA – incidentally a 2011 BCA10 honoree) in which the President put forth his plan to utilize tourism to create jobs and bolster the American economy.

The President’s plan to encourage global tourism in the United States includes several aspects: an expedited VISA application process for certain countries; an expanded Global Entry Program for trusted international visitors; and attempt to add more countries to the list not requiring VISAs for travel to the country.

That message carried over to Bob’s first meeting as a new member of the board.

Bob Lynch (left) and U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson

“I feel privileged to be appointed to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board as I can assist in finding ways for the tourism industry to work better with the arts and culture community. I want the travel and tourism industries to recognize that for many tourists, arts and culture determine if a trip is successful. And cultural tourists stay longer and spend more,” Lynch said.

Having his first meeting take place at Disney World – as Bob said, “a tourism/business empire built by an artist” – was significant in that it not only shows how art can fuel business, but how the entire tourism industry is lifted up by the arts — from public art at airports to the theaters and museums that add to the cultural experience for tourists.

As a member of the board, Bob said, “I can learn from fellow board members on behalf of the arts community as well, including how to better work with hotels, airlines, tourist groups, and trade organizations.”

Just prior to his Orlando trip, Bob also spent time in Houston, a city that boasts the largest number of businesses in one city that have been honored by the Business Committee for the Arts’ BCA 10. The Business Committee for the Arts, founded by David Rockefeller, is a division of Americans for the Arts.

The Houston Grand Opera sponsored an event at which seven previous companies awarded with BCA10 acclaim were honored for their support of local arts in order to draw attention to the uniqueness of this city’s overwhelming business support for the arts. (If you are interested in nominating a local business for the 2012 BCA10 Awards, click here.)

In addition to a reception, a back of the house tour of the Houston Music Hall, and a dinner, Bob was able to highlight the honorees, three local members of our board who are Houston CEOs (Joe Dilg, Albert Chao, and Bobby Tudor), as well as talk about the need for more private sector support for the arts nationally. He also launched locally our new pARTnership Movement, and ArtsVote 2012, our respective private and public national advocacy initiatives.

Next time, we’ll update you on Bob’s Miami visit where he had the privilege of leading an advocacy workshop for students and received the YoungArts Leadership Award.

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The pARTnership Movement


The pARTnership Movement is a new initiative from Americans for the Arts that provides businesses and arts organizations with the resources they need to make meaningful collaborations; partnerships that not only support a healthy, creative and artistic community, but that also give businesses a competitive advantage.
For more information please visit www.partnershipmovement.org.

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