Events

“People are coming back as strong as ever”: Visit USA’s new president gives message of hope at long awaited in-person expo

Visit USA held its return to in-person events on Wednesday night with its Visit USA Australia Hybrid Expo in Sydney.

The event was held in the ultra-luxe Tea Room at the QVB in Town Hall with celebrity MC Richard Reid making his grand comeback to entertain the more than 60 agents who braved the rain to hear from exhibitors.

The organisation held its AGM prior to the expo and took the opportunity to unveil its new president and committee, with Caroline Davidson of the Great American West set to take over the top role from Lucy Rowe, who announced she would be stepping down after four years in early February.

Davidson has served on the executive committee since 2015, most recently as vice president of the organisation.

“Lucy steered the organisation through probably two of the hardest years anyone can ever remember,” Davidson told Travel Weekly on the night.

According to Davidson, Tauck’s David Clark will be stepping up to join her as vice president and Collette’s James Hewlett will take on the role as treasurer.

Caroline Davidson and Lucy Rowe

Rowe, who steered the Visit USA through the turbulent pandemic, will step into the secretary role.

“We’ve got a really strong committee and we’re looking forward to having loads of people rejoin this year and ramp the whole organisation up again.

“We’re very excited about it and we feel the industry is ready.”

Davidson said her ultimate goal as president is to rebuild the organisation with a strong and committed membership, from trade partners to exhibitors.

“I think that this event finally happening in person is a signal to travel agents and the industry that people never gave up,” she said.

“People are coming back as strong as ever, and we’re looking to a bright future. And I want people to join in with that optimism despite the challenges that we face.”

The 2022 Visit USA Australia Committee will include Delta Air Lines’ Nicole Bennett, Discover The World’s Belinda Harvy,  Gate 7’s Penny Brand, Utah Office Of Tourism’s Joanne Motta, Disney Destinations’ Andrea Robinson, Hawaii Tourism Oceania’s Jennifer Gaskin, NYC State’s Anne Lee, United Airlines’ Tommy Lindblad, Rocky Mountaineer’s Amber Wilson and Linkd Tourism’s Carolyn Nightingale.

The president’s role, as with all committee positions, is an unpaid, volunteer position, which speaks to the dedication of Davidson and her colleagues who give up so much of their time to work towards their common goal of promoting travel to the US.


Featured image: Visit USA 2022 executive committee (supplied) 



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