KISSIMMEE, Fla.

The U.S. Travel Association announced Experience Kissimmee as the winner of its 2017 Grassroots Travel Champion Award. U.S. Travel presented the award on March 28 at the association’s Destination Capitol Hill—the travel and tourism industry’s legislative fly-in event dedicated to educating policymakers, providing a forum for travel leaders to meet with members of Congress and showcasing the industry's economic impact.

"It is an honor to be receiving this award from the U.S. Travel Association," said Experience Kissimmee president and CEO D.T. Minich. "They have been a huge advocate for our industry over the years and I truly enjoy assisting [U.S. Travel] in these endeavors ... this is a very special recognition."

In 2016, Minich played an instrumental role in facilitating meetings for U.S. Travel representatives with staff from both presidential campaigns, as well as Florida congressional candidates. He served as the Travel ’16 spokesperson in Florida, publishing an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel calling for travel-friendly policies.

Recently, Minich helped U.S. Travel organize Travel Talks roundtables with members of Congress and the local travel industry, including an upcoming meeting with Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL). Throughout the debate over Open Skies policy, as well, Experience Kissimmee has been a vocal supporter of the Open Skies agreements.

"Our Travel ‘16 campaign in Florida would not have been nearly as successful without D.T. and his team," said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. "Even after the general election, Experience Kissimmee continues to play an integral part in our efforts to promote travel priorities and build relationships with lawmakers in Florida … All of their phenomenal work last year, combined with their constant willingness to engage with travel-related issues at the local, state and federal level, made D.T. and Experience Kissimmee stand out."