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U.S. Travel Urges Obama to Unlock Power of Travel Industry

December 2, 2009 By: George Dooley

Offering seven specific proposals in advance of the White House Jobs Summit this Thursday, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow sent an open letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders outlining plans to spur economic growth and job creation in the U.S.

"We urge the president and Congress to work together to unlock the power of the travel community to put Americans back to work with tax incentives for job-creating travel, targeted efforts to promote international travel and government funding to remove roadblocks to an efficient travel infrastructure," said Dow in the letters to the President and Congress.

The letters commended leaders for their commitment in enacting policies to spur job creation in the U.S., noting that nearly 400,000 combined U.S. travel industry jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. The projected addition of nearly 90,000 American travel jobs in 2010, due to modest increases in travel volume and spending, demonstrate the industry's unique ability to quickly create employment opportunities.

"There's no doubt that if we can stimulate travel, this industry can help to turn the economy around," said Dow. "Building a plan for economic recovery that drives significant increases in travel would help to create tens of thousands of American jobs."

Seven immediate and medium-term proposals crucial to job creation were outlined in Dow's letter, including:

*    Travel tax deduction for business travel with a spouse
*    Business meal tax deduction
*    Implementation of the Travel Promotion Act to encourage millions to visit the U.S.
*    Targeted hiring of new consular officers for key inbound markets with unmet demand
*    Increased investment in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009
*    Funding for a "NextGen" air traffic control system that will limit flight delays, cancellations and negative impact on the environment
*    Airport construction funding for U.S. ports of entry



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