CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) will celebrate National Tourism Week, May 8-16, by honoring Nevadans in the travel industry on its Facebook page, Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki announced today.

“There are many events around the country devised to shine the light on the faces of tourism during National Tourism Week,” Krolicki, NCOT chair, said. “We will gather our industry online where untold numbers of viewers will be able to see the people who serve on the front lines of tourism every day. There is no better way to observe this annual event than to honor these people in a public way.”

Tourism is Nevada’s No. 1 industry, employing about 455,500 Nevadans and worth $54.1 billion to the state's economy. Every employee in every restaurant, hotel, gift shop, transportation company, airline, museum and special event can count himself or herself a part of the vast industry that drives Nevada’s economy.

“Today, we stand up for travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the nation's largest travel and tourism industry trade organization. “Travel is one of the country’s biggest employers with more than 10 million Americans depending on this industry for their paychecks. Everyday travel powers our economy in cities and states across the country.”

NCOT has a strong online presence and is using its digital resources to recognize tourism employees all across the state. Throughout the week of May 8-16, NCOT’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/travelnevada) will be devoted to highlighting those employees.

“This is a way of tipping our hat to outstanding individuals who help build and sustain Nevada's tourism industry, which generates so much to our great state,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said. “We want their friends, family and co-workers to see them recognized and we invite everyone to visit the website.”  

The U.S. Travel Association reports that travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries. Direct spending by domestic and international travelers generated $704 billion in the nation’s economy last year. Though the travel workforce has declined as a result of the prolonged recession, the industry expects to add 90,000 new American jobs because of modest gains in travel expected in 2010. For more information, visit www.ustravel.org. To find out more about Nevada, visit www.travelnevada.com.