The U.S. Travel Association has announced that longtime travel industry leaders Caroline Beteta and Christopher J. Nassetta are the 2016 inductees into the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders. This is the single highest honor the association can bestow upon members of the travel community.
The selection of Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California and a past national chair of U.S. Travel, and Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide and chairman of U.S. Travel’s CEO Roundtable, was announced at U.S. Travel’s summer board meeting today. Both Beteta and Nassetta will be officially inducted during a dinner commemorating U.S. Travel’s 75th anniversary, attended by more than 100 travel industry leaders on November 16th in Washington, D.C.
Hall of Leaders inductees are honored for “sustained, noteworthy contributions that have positively impacted the travel industry, stimulated greater achievement, and raised industry-wide standards.”
“Caroline and Chris have not only demonstrated exceptional leadership at the helm of two premier travel brands—they’ve also used their authority to serve as passionate advocates for the travel industry,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “When Brand USA was first launched, Caroline stepped into multiple leadership roles within the nascent organization, and worked tirelessly to prove that a public-private partnership to promote America to the world could succeed. Chris, meanwhile, has successfully transformed Hilton into one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing hospitality companies, while also doing incredible work to promote travel and tourism as a whole. During his tenure as CEO Roundtable chairman, he has driven the industry’s advocacy agenda through active engagement with policymakers on key issues.
Dow added: “The time and effort both Caroline and Chris have dedicated to advancing our community’s goals has paid off multifold, and I heartily thank them for all they have done to show our nation’s leaders that travel is serious business. This recognition is well-deserved, and as a longtime colleague and personal friend to both, I look forward to honoring them this November.”
In addition to leading Visit California, Beteta serves as the Director of Tourism in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. As national chair of U.S. Travel, she guided the merger of the Travel Industry Association and the Travel Business Roundtable. She has managed high-profile trade and promotional activities in countries around the world, including planning and participating in many international tourism and trade missions. Among other industry honors, she was named the 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year.
Nassetta, who joined Hilton as president and CEO in 2007, has led the company through a major transformation, rallying employees around the shared goal of being “the most hospitable company in the world.” This year alone, Hilton has been recognized as a Great Place to Work in more than a dozen countries, including on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in the United States. Nassetta also serves on the Executive Committee for the World Travel & Tourism Council, promoting the value of the travel industry worldwide. During his service as chairman of U.S. Travel’s CEO Roundtable, he has focused on actively engaging policymakers in efforts to recognize the importance of the travel industry—which is responsible for one in nine American jobs—to the U.S. economy.
Beteta and Nassetta will join 92 previously inducted industry luminaries in the Hall of Leaders, which was established in 1969. The 2015 inductees were Michael A. Leven, chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, and W. Stephen Maritz, chairman and CEO of Maritz Holdings, Inc.