U.S. Travel Industry Taps Rosanne Cash to Lure Visitors

The U.S. travel industry is kicking off a first-ever, $12.3 million marketing campaign, featuring an original song by country-music star Rossane Cash, reports an article by Andy Fixmer for Bloomberg.

Television, Internet and billboard ads will begin rolling out in the U.K., Canada and Japan starting May 1st, and will expand to Brazil and South Korea on June 1st, according to Jim Evans, chief executive officer of Washington-based Brand USA  a public-private marketing agency established by Congress in 2010.

The desire for travel to the U.S. has waned in the past decade as people said in polls that they knew enough about America from its films, TV shows and music, Evans said. Some U.S. economic, homeland-security and immigration policies during that time also made people around world believe America was “less welcoming” to tourists, he said.

“We knew we had to change people’s opinions,” Evans said. “It’s critical we show the U.S. as a nation of freedom, diversity and a lot of fun.”

The advertising campaign, with the tagline “Discover This Land Like Never Before,” was unveiled yesterday, April 24, at an international travel-industry conference in Los Angeles.

Walt Disney Co., Marriott International, and Best Western International each contributed $1 million for the marketing campaign The federal government is matching the contributions two for one, financed by exit fees collected on visitors leaving the U.S

The targeted countries were chosen based on the volume of travel to the U.S., the ease of gaining visas, how much visitors from those countries spend on average and the cost of advertising in those territories.

Foreign travelers to the U.S. spend $4,000 per trip on average, and each 35 incremental visitors results in a new job being created.

Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash,  composed “Land of Dreams” for the campaign and appears in commercials that feature the singer performing with other musicians from around the world under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

Brand USA’s efforts will be broad, explained Evans.“‘You won’t just see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Washington Monument in these spots,” Evans said. “This is a very broad-based ad that shows all of America.”

Diamond Resorts International Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Owners at Poipu Point Resort on Kauai, Hawaii, faced with a special assessment in excess of $5,000 per week for reconstruction to correct water intrusion damage to the buildings, have rebelled against the assessment by filing a lengthy class action Complaint against Diamond Resort International, its CEO Stephen Cloobeck and several directors.

In 163 paragraphs within the 52-page Complaint, the plaintiffs have detailed allegations of intimidation against recalcitrant directors and other methods to gain control of the board of directors by installing Diamond employees as directors. Once in control, according to the Complaint, the Diamond directors increased the management fee paid to Diamond to more than ten times prior levels and imposed the special assessment in violation of the Poipu Point governing documents.

Among the allegations is a claim that the water intrusion damage was known to Diamond before they acquired the resort from Sunterra and that Diamond delayed taking any action until they gained control over the board. Further, Diamond is alleged to have sold points in its collection of Hawaii resorts without disclosing the water intrusion damage and impending assessment.

The Complaint points out that the $65 million total assessment works out to more than $300,000 per unit, and charges that much of the money will be used for renovations unrelated to the water intrusion problem.

Plaintiffs allege the directors committed breaches of their fiduciary duty in assisting CEO Stephen Cloobeck to gain control of the board, voting on matters when they had a conflict of interest and authorizing the water intrusion assessment knowing it was invalid under the governing documents.

Diamond Resorts and Stephen Cloobeck are alleged to have committed consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices in seeking to collect the invalid assessment.

Plaintiffs seek to have the water intrusion assessment declared invalid, all payments already made to be refunded and damages.

Source: Timesharing Today Express

Diamond Resorts International® Chairman and CEO Meets with White House to Support Travel Strategy

Diamond Resorts International Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen J. Cloobeck, together with CEOs from many of the nation’s leading travel industry companies, met on March 28, 2012, with senior Administration officials at the White House to express support for President Obama’s national travel and tourism strategy.

President Obama’s national travel and tourism strategy would increase travel and foreign tourism to the United States, spurring economic growth and job creation.

As a cornerstone of the U.S. economy and one of our nation’s leading service sectors, the $1.9 trillion travel industry supports 14.4 million U.S. jobs and with the appropriate policies in place, has the potential to quickly provide opportunities for unemployed workers across the country.

Cloobeck expressed his continued support for President Obama’s Executive Order given in January which included a new pilot program and rule change for visa processing in China and Brazil; a final rule to expand and make the Global Entry program permanent; the appointment of new members to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board; and the Nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.

“As a global leader in the travel and vacation ownership industries, it’s my responsibility to be actively involved, united with fellow travel industry leaders, and supporting vital travel initiatives as the U.S. seeks to become the top tourist destination in the world,” said Cloobeck.

Alongside Diamond Resort's Stephen Cloobeck, some of the other CEOs representing the travel industry at the White House meeting included: Jim Atchison, President & Chief Executive Officer, Seaworld Parks & Entertainment; Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Travel Association; Dara Khosrowshahi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia, Inc.; Christopher Nassetta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hilton Worldwide; Rossi Ralenkotter, President & Chief Executive Officer, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; John Sprouls, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, Universal Parks and Resorts; and Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

ARDA Associate Member of C.A.R.E.

ARDA (American Resort Development Association) has joined C.A.R.E (Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers) as an Associate member.

“It is a great honor to welcome ARDA as a new member of our organization,” said C.A.R.E. president Alain Carr. “C.A.R.E. appreciates the participation of Howard Nusbaum and Jason Gamel at our conferences this past year, and C.A.R.E. has benefited from the knowledge and insight in our industry that they were generous enough to share with us.

Because C.A.R.E.’s values are directly in line with ARDA’s, C.A.R.E. has always been a strong supporter of ARDA and has been directly responsible for many C.A.R.E. member companies becoming and maintaining memberships with ARDA.

Reciprocally, ARDA has been extremely supportive of C.A.R.E. and its efforts to deliver outstanding vacation services to owners and members.

“ARDA looks forward to sharing valuable industry information with C.A.R.E. members through increased opportunities,” said ARDA president and CEO, Howard Nusbaum. “While we’ve participated in C.A.R.E. events in the past, becoming an Associate Member will enable ARDA to educate a broader audience about the policies that impact owners and efforts the industry is taking to protect the integrity of the product and the value of vacation ownership.”

ARDA is the Washington D.C. based trade association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries (timeshares) with almost 1,000 corporate members ranging from privately-held firms to publicly-traded corporations with extensive experience in shared ownership interests and leisure real estate.

C.A.R.E. (Cooperative Association of Resort Exchangers) is a trade association that has helped provide opportunities for vacation fulfillment and exchanges and revenue enhancement through increased networking opportunities since 1985. Its membership is comprised of developers, wholesalers, travel clubs, HOA’s, resorts, and management and exchange companies. Its member companies offer inventory at over 2500 properties and service over one million vacation owners and members.