Forty top tourism experts from across the nation met in Washington on Tuesday (Feb. 28) for initial sessions of the Brand USA Marketing and Business Development Advisory Boards.

Brand USA, originally created by Congress in 2010 as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, is a Congressionally-chartered corporation charged with attracting more international visitors to the U.S. Provided with up to $100 million annually in federal funds and expecting to secure an additional $100 million in private matching support, Brand USA will roll-out its strategy and campaign in late April at the International Pow Wow.

Along with Disney, Universal, Marriott, Visit Florida and major airlines, the nation’s recreation interests have an active role in this effort. National parks and scenic byways are specifically identified as one of the pillars of the new effort, according to Derrick Crandall, a member of the Business Development Advisory Board and president of the American Recreation Coalition.

In a release, Crandall noted, “President Obama recently gave a big boost to Brand USA efforts. On Jan. 19 at Walt Disney World, the president announced major efforts to boost international visitation to the U.S. He highlighted national parks and directed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to co-chair a new White House Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness. The task force is required to outline a plan to boost international visitation and increase jobs by late spring, and national parks and the Great Outdoors will figure prominently in the effort.”

To see the president’s January remarks, go to www.2016parksummit.org/highlights/summit-videos.html — where videos about parks by First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush are also available.