Travel News Report
Feb. 15, 2013

American Airlines, US Airways officially announce merger
American Airlines and US Airways have officially confirmed their merger to become world's largest airline — the "new" American Airlines. The boards of American Airlines and US Airways both approved a merger deal. The formal announcement of the merger came on American Airlines' website. The companies will merge into the "new" American Airlines, keeping the recently revealed new livery and branding of the company, and dropping the US Airways name. More

Legislature must stop pinching Texas parks' future
Luke Metzger and David Teel, president and CEO of the Texas Travel Industry Association, write: "From camping under the stars at Big Bend Ranch to exploring the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, our state parks are more than part of our natural heritage. They make life better in Texas. But our parks are in trouble. Two years ago, the Legislature cut the budget of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by $113 million. More than 100 rangers and other parks and wildlife staff were laid off. Critical repairs to aging bathrooms, campsites and sewage treatment facilities were put off. Twenty three parks had services reduced, and some are now only open on the weekend. Grants to cities to build new parks and playgrounds were mostly eliminated."More

Texas lawmaker seeks overhaul of water board
The Texas Tribune
In addition to the intensifying discussions of water infrastructure funding at the Capitol, an even more basic conversation also is getting under way: whether to restructure the Texas Water Development Board. The board, created in 1957, is overseen by six part-time board members, who serve on a volunteer basis after being appointed by the governor. But state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, wants to change the structure to three full-time members, also appointed by the governor.More

U.S. Travel Association: Travel exports made 'historic' gains in 2012
Successful Meetings
U.S. travel exports grew more than twice as fast as overall exports in 2012, according to the U.S. Travel Association, which on Friday released its analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce's year-end export data. Travel exports, it revealed, reached a record high of $168.1 billion last year. "Year-end figures ... reveal that travel exports reached an all-time high last year, making 2012 one for the history books," U.S. Travel Association Senior Vice President of Research and Economics David Huether said in a statement. "Spending by international visitors in the U.S. spurred travel exports to the highest level in four years."More