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Travel Matters to Our Jobs

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 19, 2019

By Sarah Shields, U.S. Travel Association’s director of industry communications

New estimates from the U.S. Travel Association show travel supports 15.7 million jobs across almost all U.S. industries. Find more 2018 economic impact stats in the NTTW toolkit and U.S. travel industry answer sheet.

Travel has a positive impact on so many aspects of our lives: from the memories it helps us create with family and friends, to the trillions in economic output it delivers and the millions of American jobs it supports. So, for this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week (May 5-11), we are spotlighting a different example each day of why travel matters to America.

Use Tuesday, May 7 to celebrate how travel matters to America’s jobs.

15.7 million reasons why travel jobs matter
When one thinks of travel industry jobs, a few familiar faces come to mind: the workers on the “front lines” of the industry, such as waitresses, hotel managers or amusement park ticket takers. But the travel industry is much more than just the person who hands you a set of room keys or serves you a burger; travel plays a critical role in creating and supporting millions of American jobs across all 50 states. Travel is America’s seventh-largest employer, and the industry directly employs 8.9 million workers and supports 15.7 million Americans across almost all U.S. industries.

And it’s not just chain hotels and renowned attractions driving the travel workforce. Main Streets across America thrive thanks to the travel industry; travel-dependent leisure and hospitality is the largest small business employer in the U.S.

Travel jobs matter for upward mobility
Nearly a quarter of Americans’ first jobs were in travel—and these jobs lead to real, serious careers. In fact, a third of Americans who started their careers in travel—from tour guides to lifeguards, from bellhops to housekeepers—went on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Travel jobs are a ticket to opportunity and a path to prosperity, allowing Americans the flexibility to pursue higher education and learn valuable, translatable skills for future success. 

This is an industry in which one can get a job, move up the ranks, pursue goals and support a family; more than half of all travel jobs earn a middle-class wage or higher. The average annual salary of an American whose first job was in travel is $82,000, and two in five Americans with a first job in travel earn more than $100,000 annually.

Travel jobs matter in every pocket of America
Travel jobs don’t just exist in big cities and beach resorts: there are travel jobs in all 435 congressional districts, and 47 states and the District of Columbia count travel among its top 10 industries for employment.

The travel industry workforce is expanding every year—advancing policies that help grow travel to and within the U.S. will create and support even more American jobs. Because when travel thrives, so does America—and American families: from Savannah to Seattle, from Tupelo to Tucson, and every small town, national park and roadside attraction in between.

How to participate

 - On May 7, spotlight a notable travel worker’s story through video or at your Travel Rally Day event. If you’re holding an event, be sure to add it to U.S. Travel’s NTTW event map.

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Tell the story of your own experience working in the travel industry on your social media accounts or in your organization’s newsletter.

Share on social media how a new business or attraction grew your community’s travel workforce.

 Useful tools:
Find out how many jobs are supported by travel in your state or district with our Economic Impact Map.

Explore how increasing travel spending in your state can support public services, including firefighters, police officers and public school teachers using our Economic Impact Calculator.

See how pro-travel policies can increase jobs throughout American industries with the Downstream Impact Calculator.

Share additional facts about careers in travel from Travel: America’s Unsung Hero of Job Creation.

 National Travel and Tourism Week is our industry’s time to celebrate the innumerable ways in which travel strengthens communities and enriches lives. Interested in other ways you can celebrate why “Travel Matters” during NTTW? View the full theme calendar. Don’t forget to include #nttw19 or #TravelMatters in your posts for a chance to be featured on our social channels and included in our wrap video. Planning an event? Add it to the official NTTW event map. Visit the NTTW toolkit for more resources to get involved.

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Destination Capitol Hill: 2.5 Trillion Reasons to Advocate for Travel

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

By Tori Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at U.S. Travel Association.

New data from the U.S. Travel Association shows travel’s essential contributions to the American economy and workforce.

Travel is a powerful engine for a roaring economy. Travel is a driving force in reducing the trade deficit. Travel is millions of good jobs in every corner of America.

This is an industry essential to the American economy and workforce, and it is why we advocate for its continued growth. Destination Capitol Hill (DCH), the industry’s premier fly-in advocacy event, brings together travel leaders from across the country to meet directly with policymakers. DCH ensures that our industry’s collective voice is heard, and that our elected representatives have a solid understanding of travel’s contributions to the American economy, as well as issues facing our industry.

Travel is trade, commerce and jobs 
U.S. Travel’s latest economic impact numbers show that traveler spending in 2018 generated $2.5 trillion in total economic output, supported 15.7 million American workers and reduced America’s overall trade deficit, with $256 billion in U.S. travel exports creating a $69 billion travel trade surplus.

Travel jobs exist in practically every pocket of the country, driving economies from Maine to Maui. Between 2010 and 2017, all 50 states and the District of Columbia saw their travel employment increase, and 43 states and D.C. saw travel employment increase faster than the rest of their state’s economy.

U.S. Travel’s advocacy efforts focus on policies that will further grow this essential industry, and in turn, the American economy:

Brand USA’s long-term reauthorization

  • A comprehensive infrastructure package
  • A legislative fix for the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog in our national parks
  • Renaming the Visa Waiver Program as the Secure Travel Partnership program and expanding it to additional allied nations

This is an industry with a tremendous impact and boundless potential. Simply put, travel matters to America—and it should matter to our elected officials.


To learn more about the travel industry, please see U.S. Travel’s industry Answer Sheet, as well as our Travel and Trade and Travel Creates Jobs fact sheets. 

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Destination Capitol Hill

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 8, 2019

Destination Capitol Hill (DCH) is the U.S. Travel industry's premier legislative fly-in. April 10-11, 2019

The event brings travel leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C. to educate policymakers about the power of travel. The program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. DCH provides delegates with an opportunity to learn about upcoming legislation that impacts travel, network with peers and meet with members of Congress to stress the importance of travel as an economic driver.

Want to attend? Find out more info HERE!  

 

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U.S. Travel Answer Sheet

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 2, 2019
U.S. TRAVEL ANSWER SHEET FACTS ABOUT A LEADING AMERICAN INDUSTRY THAT’S MORE THAN JUST FUN

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State Tourism Office Budget Dashboard

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Over the past five years, State Tourism Funding (overall average) increased 13.3%, consistently reaching over $18.5 million since FY 2014-2015.

 

 

Download File (PDF)

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February 2018 US Travel Outlook

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 28, 2018
February 2018
U.S. Travel Outlook is a monthly newsletter of the U.S. Travel Association. Visit http://www.ustravel.org/news/us-travel-newsletters/travel-outlook
ArchiveContact Usustravel.org
Examining Current Industry Trends
Current State of the Economy Current State of the Economy and Travel

Recent indicators show that the economic expansion is accelerating, consumer and small business confidence remain high, the labor market is healthy, wage growth is picking up and inflation remains contained. Given the fact that the economic effects of the recently passed tax legislation have high-frequency statistics that have yet to be picked up, the possibility of further acceleration in economic growth moving forward is very real. As the recent wild moves by the stock market have illustrated, potential negative spillover effects related to inflation remain a constant concern.Go to Outlook

LABOR

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 200,000 in January and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.Go to Outlook

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

"Consumer confidence improved in January after declining in December," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.Go to Outlook

CONSUMER SPENDING

Personal consumption expenditures(PCE) finished 2017 stronger than expected, increasing 0.4 percent month-on-month (m/m), an annualized rate of 4.9 percent.Go to Outlook

EXPORTS

The U.S.goods and services trade deficit increased 5.3 percent in December to $53.1 billion.Go to Outlook

STATE OF BUSINESS

The Commerce Department says that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 2.9 percent in December from November (m/m), the fastest pace in six months.Go to Outlook

TRAVEL TRENDS INDEX

The Current Travel Index (CTI) has registered at or above the 50 mark for 96 straight months, as the industry nears its ninth consecutive year of expansion according to the latest Travel Trends Index.Go to Outlook

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Leisure Travel Leisure Travel

For the first time, the federal government and private industry estimated the outdoor recreation industry's contribution to the national economy.Go to Outlook

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Lodging Industry Lodging Industry

Revenue per available room grew 2 to 4 percent for the U.S. hotel industry in January 2018, according to preliminary numbers from STR.Go to Outlook

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Transportation Transportation

AIR TRAVEL

Reporting year end results, 2017 global passenger demand rose 7.6 percent compared to 2016 according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).Go to Outlook

ROADS & RAILS

AAA reported that the national gas price average decreased to $2.58, for the first time week-over-week this year.Go to Outlook

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Business Travel Business Travel

Global business travel is expected to thrive in 2018, according to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).Go to Outlook

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International Travel International Travel

International visitation to the U.S. was down 3.6 percent for the first eight months of 2017 compared to the first eight months of 2016, according to the Commerce Department.Go to Outlook

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Project: Time Off Project: Time Off

The bucket list is losing out to the to-do list. Sixty percent of Americans are planning for their to-do list or not planning at all. Read more about The Power of Planning from Project: Time Off's latest report.Go to Outlook

U.S. Travel Updated

RESEARCH

Research released the Domestic Travel Market Report, 2017 edition to members this week.Go to Outlook

POLICY

U.S. Travel unveiled our guiding infrastructure principles in Building the Next Generation of Travel Infrastructure.Go to Outlook

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MEMBER RESOURCES TOOLKITS RESEARCH REPORTS INTERACTIVE TRAVEL ANALYTICS
U.S. Travel Dashboard
U.S. Travel Dashboard U.S. Travel Dashboard
Travel Trends Index Share of Domestic Search

1100 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 450, Washington, D.C. 20005 TEL 202.408.8422 FAX 202.408.1255 ustravel.orgfeedback@ustravel.org
U.S. Travel Association Project: Time Off Power of Travel
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Copyright © 2018 U.S. Travel Association. All rights reserved.
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US Travel Association Week in Washington

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 8, 2018
JANUARY 2-5, 2018
Week in Washington

NEW VOICE

The U.S. Travel team was further strengthened in November by the hiring of Victoria “Tori” Barnes as Senior Vice president of Government Relations. She will now begin sending this report. A seasoned Washington professional, Tori will craft our policy priorities and strategy – and work with the U.S. Travel team to execute a strong agenda which will be reported here every Friday. You may see some graphic changes and hear a slightly different voice. As always, we welcome your feedback on how we can keep these reports useful for you and encourage your engagement and questions.

TRAVEL JOBS

Enactment of the tax reform bill was a major legislative achievement by Congress and the Administration that will put refund dollars in the pockets of travelers, generate investment within the industry and help create American jobs. Domestic business travel has already been showing some bounce because of an optimistic commercial environment and the tax package seeks to jolt the private sector even more. Today, the travel industry supports one in nine U.S. jobs. We only stand to grow with a tax code that significantly enhances our competitiveness worldwide.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

With only eight legislative days left before the next deadline on Jan. 19, congressional leaders are still struggling to avert a shutdown of the federal government. Since the current fiscal year started in Oct. 1, the Congress has enacted three short-term extensions. Based on past experience, U.S. Travel urges action to avoid the expense and disruption of any interruption in government operations.

PASSENGER FACILITY CHARGE

In anticipation of eventual consideration of an omnibus 2018 funding package, our lobbying continues to lift the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). The Senate transportation funding bill would raise the per-leg ceiling from $4.50 to $8.50 – but not the House bill. The fee, assessed by local airports for specific modernization and security projects, was last raised in 2000.

OFFSHORE DRILLING

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday proposed opening nearly all the outer continental shelf for oil and gas drilling, specifically identifying areas off Maine, California, Florida and Alaska for potential exploration. The plan is much larger than anticipated last year in a presidential executive order, which directed Sec. Zinke to weigh expanded drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Under the most recent five-year offshore lease sale plan, issued by the Obama Administration, drilling was precluded around Alaska or in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The plan drew immediate opposition from environmental groups and bipartisan officials in several coastal states. A formal proposal will soon be released for a 60-day public comment period. U.S. Travel officials are preparing to meet soon with senior Interior Department officials and we’ll keep you posted.

INFRASTRUCTURE RETIREMENT

This week, a key legislator in the infrastructure debate announced plans to retire from Congress after this session. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the key House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is also a strong advocate for transferring control of the air traffic control system to a non-profit corporation. The announcement comes as the Administration is preparing to roll out its revised plan to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and airports. Rep. Shuster is the fourth Republican Committee chairman planning to step down when the current term expires. It is important to note that with Shuster’s announced retirement, it does give him some flexibility to be creative and untraditional as he works to craft an infrastructure package. We will be working closely with his committee to ensure that travel and tourism interests benefit from the package.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has added a new obstacle to implementation of the President’s executive order on visas. The most recent White House order bans citizens of eight nations from entering the U.S. The court prohibited enforcement of the ban against anyone with a “bona fide” relationship with American citizens. The next step is a ruling on another challenge by a federal appeals court in Richmond, VA. Then the Supreme Court is expected review these cases.

TRAVEL TALKS

Plans are now underway for an aggressive 2018 schedule ofTravel Talks, informal roundtables for legislators at home with local travel leaders. We’re now finalizing at least two sessions later this month in Texas and Michigan. Please let us know if you’d like to host aTravel Talkwith your representatives.

IN THE OUTBOX

From last week’s press clips are stories on:

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US Travel Association Week in Washington

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 29, 2017
SEPTEMBER 18-29, 2017
Week in Washington

HARVEY AND IRMA

As Texas, Florida and other affected states assess damage from the recent hurricanes, two things became clearer: the devastating impact on many tourism venues – and the resilience of travel leaders in the face of the storms. The national travel community is banding together to do all we can to help those in need – and assist however possible as our destination and venue colleagues try to get back to business.

PUERTO RICO

Since Hurricane Maria, U.S. Travel has focused on how best the national travel community can do our part to help alleviate the heartbreaking suffering in Puerto Rico. In addition to engaging U.S. government officials to press for urgent support, we are coordinating with U.S. Travel members – hoteliers, cruise lines and others – who are already on the scene and answering the call. If you have information or services to offer, please contact us.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

And as we survey the aftermath of Harvey and Irma, history teaches that the return to normalcy can be greatly aided by economic as well as physical recovery – and it’s gratifying to see the pace of restoration work in the Florida Keys. Restoring travel and tourism to the region as soon as feasibly possible, by advertising that the impacted states are open for business, will help those hurt the most. Many who have lost their homes in these disasters are at risk of losing their jobs, too—if travelers remain under the impression that the areas recovering from the storm paths are unsafe or unsuitable for visitors. This affects millions of workers; over 20 percent of American jobs directly supported by travel are in Florida, Louisiana and Texas alone. While not all the hard-hit areas are yet ready, many can are able to welcome visitors right now. CEO Roger Dow last week encouraged community leaders and travel professionals in affected areas to find a megaphone and invite travelers to return. As a St. Petersburg/Clearwater resident himself, Roger will certainly be doing so in Florida.

NEW ENTRY SECURITY MEASURES

This week, the White House announced its decision on enhanced national security measures relating to entry into the United States. Using new baseline security criteria, eight nations were found to be non-compliant: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Iraqi nationals traveling to the United States may also be subject to additional scrutiny. Travel to the U.S. is still possible for some on the list, notably from Venezuela — among our top 20 inbound travel markets — where travel restrictions only apply to certain government officials and their families. The restrictions being imposed on these eight countries are conditional and may be lifted as they work with the U.S. government. Notably, the review process identified the U.S. Visa Waiver Program as a proven and effective "best practice" security partnership. It is heartening to see this endorsement for the VWP after years of educating leaders in Washington on the program's benefits as a national security tool that facilitates international travel. The next day, the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled scheduled arguments on previous related rulings, asking lawyers to address whether or how the proclamation now moots the case. U.S. Travel commends the Administration for taking a tailored approach and evaluating each country on its own merits. Though outright travel bans are a concern, security adjustments rooted in legitimate intelligence are today a fact of life for travelers. The world needs to know that they are not intended to discourage travel generally, and that legitimate business and leisure travelers are as welcome as ever in the United States.

VOICES FOR OPEN SKIES

U.S. Travel last week launched Voices for Open Skies, an interactive website highlighting the perspectives of business owners and travelers who benefit from America’s international aviation agreements with more than 120 countries. The site calls on policymakers to reject efforts by the Big Three U.S. airlines to dismantle Open Skies pacts with Qatar and the United Arab Emerates, which would serve to dangerously undermine broader Open Skies policy and hurt American jobs. It contains testimonials from across the nation, details the jobs impact and provides advocacy resources for flyers, business owners and travel industry workers.

FAA AUTHORIZATION

On Thursday, two days before its current authority expired, the House and Senate approved a six-month extension for operations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Earlier in the week, Democrats opposed to unrelated bill provisions blocked it from moving through a fast-track process that required a two-thirds majority. Many now expect House action next month on a full reauthorization bill that could include transferring air traffic control operations from the FAA.

APEC CARD

On Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation to make permanent the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card program, which expedites border processing at airports across the U.S. and 18 Pacific Rim nations. The bill (S. 504) was sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cory Gardner (R-CO). Without its passage, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot issue cards to U.S. citizens after September 2018 – undermining our business competitiveness in the region’s marketplace. The bill is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives.

J-1 VISAS

In response to reports that the Administration is considering eliminating the J-1 cultural exchange visa program, U.S. Travel joined other members in a broad new coalition in letters urging Sec. of State Tillerson and Commerce Sec. Ross to carefully assess the economic impact of any such proposal. As a preemptive legislative strategy takes shape, the Senate Appropriations Committee immediately approved language supporting J-1 visas and two dozen House members cosponsored a bipartisan resolution sponsored by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA). In addition to cultural, educational and public diplomacy benefits, the J-1 work visas are absolutely critical to local tourism economies – and U.S. Travel will continue to forcefully defend them.

CONSULAR WORK

In testimony Tuesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Deputy Sec. of State John Sullivan testified that consular functions will not be transferred to the Homeland Security Dept. as part of an anticipated restructuring of the State Dept. His comments came in response to questions from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who expressed satisfaction with the clarification. The testimony focused on the status of the proposed State Dept. reorganization plan.

DHS SECURITY STRATEGY

In testimony before a Senate hearing yesterday, Acting Homeland Security Sec. Elaine Duke stressed that the security distinctions between “home” and “away” are now blurred, requiring DHS to take decisive action to fix security weaknesses for the long haul. After discussing border security, Sec. Duke directly addressed travel facilitation, saying that DHS is upgrading “almost every stage of the vetting process for U.S.- bound travelers.” This includes detecting terrorists, checking social media, requiring additional data and leveraging new databases. The details are classified but she said, “We have already seen real successes… these enhancements have allowed us to detect and disrupt terror suspects we likely would not have identified otherwise.”

VISA RULES TIGHTENED

In a cable to embassies worldwide, Sec. of State Tillerson has directed consular officials to review whether visitors to the U.S. follow through on their stated plans for the first three months of their stay here. If not, it will be presumed they lied, making it harder to renew a visa, apply for a new one or adjust legal status. Changes of plan occurring after three months may also be problematic. While U.S. Travel fully supports security imperatives, we remain concerned such policies may discourage visitors and exacerbate visa processing delays. Last year, the U.S. issued 10 million visas. The new policy does not directly affect visitors arriving through the Visa Waiver Program.

US CHINA TOURISM SUMMIT

Last week, I joined U.S. Travel’s CEO Roger Dow atthe 11th annual U.S.-China Tourism Summit, hosted by Brand USA in Atlanta. The summit attracted over 200 tourism industry officials from both countries for four days of business workshops and networking opportunities. China is the largest outbound market in the world and the largest source of international tourism spending in the U.S. last year. The summit alternates annually between U.S. and Chinese host cities.

BORDER LAPTOP SEARCHES

The ACLU and other civil liberties groups have sued the Homeland Security Dept. to end the rising incidence of warrantless border searches of travelers’ laptops and smart phones. The lawsuit complaint in a federal district court in Massachusetts challenges the policy of permitting invasive searches of electronic devices “that do not require a warrant, probable cause or even reasonable suspicion.”

INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

President Trump this week appeared to back off his longstanding proposal for a public-private partnership to finance a trillion-dollar infrastructure package. Instead, he reportedly told House Democrats at the White House that he will seek direct funding at the local, state as well as federal level, presumably requiring additional debt or tax revenue – and likely reducing the scale of the work. Previously the President sought to attract private capital through investment incentives.

OPEN SKIES FABRICATION

Richard Anderson, the former CEO of Delta Air Lines recently named to be the new chief of Amtrak, has dropped a bombshell in the context of the Open Skies debate. Delta has led the prolonged and expensive lobbying campaign against Open Skies agreements with Qatar and United Arab Emirates on the grounds that carriers flagged in those two countries are unfairly subsidized by their governments. The campaign began under Anderson’s leadership. No longer an airline executive, Anderson now favors “state supported” transportation companies, noting the need for U.S. subsidies for rail travel, much as Congress appropriates large sums for U.S. highways. As U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Jonathan Grella commented, “… the outrage Anderson previously expressed over subsidies was a put-on aimed at tilting the playing field further in favor of domestic carriers—not righting a legitimate wrong, not grounded in any sincerity or substance… the Big Three’s sob story on Open Skies is a fabrication, and should be received as such by the Trump administration.”

INTERNATIONAL VISITOR SPENDING

International visitors spent $13.1 billion in the United States during the month of July, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to July 2016. Spending by international visitors in the U.S. has increased three out of the first seven months of this year. From January to July 2017, international visitors spent $90.7 billion in the United States, an increase of 0.9 percent compared to 2016.

FREE PARKS ADMISSION

To kick off its second hundred years of operations, the National Park Service is waiving all admission fees tomorrow (9/30). The 417 national parks span every U.S. state and territory. About 100 normally charge an entrance fee, but even they are modest – and the Park Service offers various discount passes. The next free admission days are November 11-12, over Veterans Day weekend.

IN THE OUTBOX

Among recent press clips were stories on the recent decline in the volume of international visitors to the U.S.;JetBlue CEO blasting legacy airlines for wielding anti-consumer power, while Delta’s ex-CEO now embraces subsidies for Amtrak; our blog posts after the latest London terrorist attacks and celebrating World Tourism Day this week; U.S. Travel’s presence at World Routes 2017 in Barcelona; anticipated delays in U.S. passport processing;U.S. tourism promotion this week in Canada; the new editions of U.S. Travel’s Vantage Point and Travel Outlook.

 

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U.S. Travel Outlook, September 2017

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

After a slow start in the first quarter of the year, economic growth accelerated to 3 percent annualized growth in the second quarter, the fastest quarterly pace in more than two years. Developments so far in the third quarter paint a positive picture overall for the economy. Employment and personal income continue to increase, though at a slightly milder pace than earlier in the year and consumer confidence remains high. Together these factors should buoy consumer spending in the near term; upturns in capital goods shipments signal that businesses are continuing to invest in equipment; and exports of U.S. goods and services are growing. While the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida will likely have negative impacts in the near term, the overall foundation for the economy remains solid.

Click here to view the US Travel Outlook for September 2017.

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White House Decision on U.S. Entry Requirements

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 25, 2017
FROM THE DESK OF ROGER DOW

Dear CEO Roundtable and Board Colleague:

The White House announced yesterday its decision on enhanced national security measures relating to entry into the United States. This follows an extensive review related to the President’s January executive order—and its implications for the travel industry.

In a presidential proclamation, the administration used baseline requirements developed over the summer to assess countries on their ability to meet “the minimum information the United States needs to validate traveler identities, prevent fraud, and ensure individuals do not represent a national security or public-safety threat.”

Current State of Play
Most countries meet the new baseline; however, eight nations were found to be non-compliant: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Iraqi nationals traveling to the United States may also be subject to additional scrutiny. Travel to the U.S. is still possible for some on the list, notably from Venezuela—which is among our top 20 inbound travel markets—where travel restrictions only apply to certain government officials and their families.

The restrictions being imposed on these eight countries are conditional and may be lifted as they work with the U.S. government.

Notably, the review process identified the U.S. Visa Waiver Program as a proven and effective “best practice” security partnership. It is heartening to see this endorsement for the VWP after years of educating leaders in Washington on the program's benefits as a national security tool that facilitates international travel.

Also today, the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled scheduled arguments on previous related rulings, asking lawyers to address “whether, or to what extent, the proclamation” now renders the case moot.

U.S. Travel Position
The administration is to be commended for taking a tailored approach, evaluating each country on its own merits and readiness to comply.

Though outright travel bans are a concern, security adjustments rooted in legitimate intelligence are a fact of life for travelers. It is the reality that we operate in today.

We will continue to call for the government to adopt an approach that balances security requirements with clear expressions of welcome toward international travelers.

Questions Concerning Implementation
It’s essential that these policies be clearly communicated and that there be both an incentive and a pathway for affected countries to bring themselves back into compliance. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been effectively checking both those boxes. We are hopeful the government will take the necessary steps to clearly communicate the changes, so all who wish to visit have a clear understanding of their ability to enter.

For more information, please review the official White House FAQ.

We will continue our engagement with the administration on the critical topic of international travel to the United States.

I will keep you apprised of our work.

Sincerely,
Roger
Roger J. Dow
President and CEO


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