World Tourism Award Winners Announced

NEW YORK -- Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland received the second annual World Tourism Award presented by Reed Travel Exhibitions in association with American Express, the International Herald Tribune and the American Tourism Society.

Lorig Yekhpairian, the vice president of travel industry relations and worldwide coordination for American Express, cited the role tourism has played in the countries' economic development when she announced the award.

The award will be presented at the American Travel Market in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 11.

"They have energized private sector investment in the development of the tourism infrastructure, and their tourism offices supported the industry by mounting vigorous travel advertising campaigns," Yekhpairian said.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel to the former Eastern Bloc will generate $168.7 billion in economic activity and 15.2 million jobs this year.

By 2010, the region's travel industry is projected to more than triple in size, a WTTC report stated.

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