Where's the Love?
So, the Travel Protection Act has gotten lost in Congress in recent years because of more pressing economic matters. But to small and large businesses in the industry, travel-related legislation is critical. In early 2009, travel industry leaders met with President Obama to discuss why the Travel Protection Act is essential, and to discuss the unique role that travel can play in strengthening the American economy. Many industry representatives were in on the meeting, including the Vice Chair of Carnival, the CEO of Marriott, a Disney Chairman, and others. The meeting focused on two issues: the need to welcome more international visitors, and the business community's concerns about the dramatic nationwide downturn in meetings and events.
"We are pleased that President Obama recognizes the power of travel to strengthen America's economy," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The travel community has an ally in President Obama and we appreciate the leadership he intends to bring to increasing travel to, and within, the United States."
In the meeting, industry leaders touted the advantages of the Travel Promotion Act, which would establish the first-ever U.S. promotion and communications campaign to attract millions of additional international visitors to the United States annually and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,000 per person per visit.
This legislation calls for an international travel promotion program that is expected to yield millions of new visitors, $8 billion in additional spending, and $850 million in new federal tax revenue. The bill supports or strengthens all of the security measures currently in place to protect the homeland, and would come at no cost to the American taxpayer. Over two hundred Representatives and nearly 50 Senators from both parties have cosponsored the bill.
Derailing Business Travel Isn't the Answer
Participants also discussed the need to maximize the benefits of business meetings and events, which generate more than $100 billion in spending and create more than one million jobs that are the lifeblood of local communities across the country.
"Travel will play a critical role in driving America's economic recovery," said Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels and Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Travel Association.