One of our neighbors here in rural south Salem has become a celebrity -- in the tourism promotion world. Recently President Obama announced at Walt Disney World that Todd Davidson will lead an effort to increase international tourism through the U.S. Tourism and Travel Advisory Board.
Here's a KGW story about Todd's appointment (after a brief ad).
Davidson is CEO of Travel Oregon, which has been successful in boosting tourism in our state.
"The travel industry is an important part of Oregon's economy," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Appointing Todd Davidson to Chair the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board was an excellent selection. Todd is a thoughtful and effective leader who will continue to promote Oregon's tourism advantages in his national position."
Davidson was appointed Executive Director of Travel Oregon in June 1996 and was named Chief Executive Officer in September 2004. Under his leadership, the tourism industry in Oregon has flourished into an $8.7 billion industry that employs more than 90,000 Oregonians; in 2011 more than 8,000 jobs were created.
Way to go, Todd!
I've got some great ideas for luring international tourists to our very own neighborhood, Spring Lake Estates, which those of us who have lived here for a long time like to call "Poison Oak Estates." There's got to be an untapped market of people who want to experience some of the world's largest and most potent poison oak vines.
I'm visualizing busloads of Japanese (and other) tourists pulling up to vacant lots in our neighborhood after they've had their fill of the Woodburn Mall. We'd give them white jumpsuits to put on, complete with masks and gloves.
Then we'd go on a walking tour of our amazing poison oak forests. There'd be some exciting acrobatic acts featuring scantily clad attractive guys and gals who would do their thing above, below, and around dense thickets of poison oak. And every one of them would be super-allergic to it!
Thrill a minute. We'd sell souvenir poison oak leaves enclosed in plastic, suitable for a necklace, earrings, or gift to someone you can't stand.
Anyway, Todd, feel free to give me a call when the Tourism Advisory Board starts discussing plans to increase international tourism. If you meet at Walt Disney World, where I hear you shook Obama's hand, I'll just have to put country first and accept an all-expenses trip to consult with the Board.