A strong, healthy tourism industry is vital to Galveston and to the state as a whole. It takes advocacy and leadership on the state level to help make sure the industry continues to grow.

That’s where the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) comes in. TTIA is a nonprofit organization made up of businesses, organizations, associations and individuals dedicated to developing Texas tourism to its fullest potential. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in Texas by strengthening travel and tourism. Galveston is fortunate to have two of its own tourism leaders serving on its board of directors.

Galveston Park Board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun and Landry’s Inc. Vice President of Hospitality Paul Schultz were recently reappointed to the TTIA board. This is de Schaun’s second term and Schultz has served on the board for 12 years. De Schaun brings to the table more than 26 years in the tourism industry and Schultz has more than three decades of hospitality experience beginning in his college years.

The two will participate in TTIA’s efforts to support legislative policies that support tourism.

The organization provides an important voice for tourism in the state legislature advocating for policies that include the preservation of funding for state tourism promotion and a uniform school start date.

They also will be part of TTIA hosted events throughout the year. The annual Converge on the Capitol that takes place in February brings travel industry leaders together with state legislators for face-to-face meetings. Later this month, the organization will host a press event in New York giving destination representatives the opportunity to talk to national journalists about what’s new in their cities. Every year, TTIA holds its annual meeting, the Travel Summit, in a different Texas city. That event will be held in Galveston in 2018.

De Schaun and Schultz have their work cut out for them, but their more than 50 years combined experience in the tourism industry makes them well suited for the job. Having two representatives from a small community like ours serving on this state-level board speaks volumes about their professionalism and dedication to the industry.

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at mbassett@galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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