Cited for Travel Industry Accomplishments, Marilyn Carlson Nelson Inducted into ASTA Hall of Fame

Minneapolis, MN | September 12, 2007

Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chair and CEO of Carlson, a global leader in the travel, hotel, restaurant, cruise and marketing industries, has been inducted into the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Hall of Fame.

The highest honor that ASTA gives to individuals, the award was presented during the organization's annual meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas. Nelson was cited for her ongoing contributions to the travel industry and outstanding industry leadership.

She is currently chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and a member of the World Economic Forum Governors Group on Travel and Tourism, and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

In addition, Nelson was a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism in 1996 and was on the board of the U.S. National Tourism Organization. She also was a board member of the Singapore Tourism Bureau and is an active past national chair of the Travel Industry Association (TIA).

"It is my privilege to serve in the travel and tourism industry, and I accept this recognition on behalf of all of my Carlson colleagues who work tirelessly to meet our clients' needs every day," Nelson said. "Travel and tourism services are the core of our company, are vital to the global economy, and we believe, serve as a platform for peace."

Soon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Nelson was among the Carlson executives who met with congressional and Bush administration advisors to call attention to the plight of the travel and tourism industry, which was severely affected by the tragedy. She outlined the importance of the travel and tourism to the American economy and shared statistics from the TIA, on whose behalf she testified.

According to the TIA's 2006 research report, domestic and international travelers spent nearly $654 billion in the United States during 2005, up 7.7 percent from 2004, and generated nearly $105 billion in federal, state and local government taxes.

Travel operations continued to grow at Carlson during 2006. The acquisition of Navigant International by Carlson Wagonlit Travel doubled the size of Carlson's business travel division in North America and expanded its presence in Asia Pacific through Navigant operations in Australia and New Zealand. In 2006, Carlson became the majority shareowner (55 percent) of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which is the second-largest travel management company in the world.

Carlson hotels and restaurants both experienced significant growth over the past year as well. Carlson Hotels Worldwide increased its ownership in the Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group AB to 41.7 percent, from 25 percent. Rezidor has more than 300 properties in operation and under development. Carlson Restaurants Worldwide and a London-based partner acquired 45 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in the United Kingdom. The addition of these restaurants to the Carlson portfolio makes the U.K. market the largest market outside of the U.S. in which the restaurant company has ownership.

In addition to her industry affiliations, Nelson sits on the boards of ExxonMobil and the Mayo Foundation. Her honors in 2006 included being admitted to the French Legion of Honor in recognition of her public service.

ASTA's Hall of Fame Award was established in 1971 during the 41st World Travel Congress in Sydney, Australia. Its purpose is to recognize and honor individuals whose careers have greatly influenced the development and expansion of the travel and tourism industry.

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