Summit Targets Ways to Stimulate U.S. Economy

As President-elect Obama and his team continue their work on a stimulus bill that will jump-start the economy, leaders of travel and tourism organizations have prepared seven recommendations on how its sector of the economy can contribute by quickly providing new jobs, new income, and new tax revenues. The recommendations are being presented to the Obama Transition Team and follow a December summit meeting with 39 travel industry organizations represented.

The solutions established by the group focus on the next six-12 months and include seven areas and three items that summit participants believe should be included in the Administration’s stimulus plan. This includes the provision of federal grants for travel and tourism development at the regional, state, and local levels, the inclusion of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008 (H.R. 3232, S. 1661) in the next economic stimulus plan, and the provision of funding for federal lands.

The remaining four items, which also can stimulate the economy, are additional recommendations for short-term Administration action. This includes the establishment of an executive office of travel and tourism, the creation of more user-friendly visa regulations and procedures for easing U.S. entry/exit systems, passing highway reauthorization— including rourism development projects– and the re-examination of travel bans.

Spokesmen for the group said the summit meeting demonstrated that leaders of the travel community are committed to developing solutions to help stimulate economic growth for the U.S. economy, as well as for their members and travel and tourism overall. These participants represent the collective voice of more than 82,000 businesses and individual members. Major agency groups included ASTA and the National Tour Association (NTA).

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