Obama Wins Praise for Encouraging Travel to Gulf

President Obama won praise from the U.S. Travel Association for encouraging continued travel to the Gulf States and communities along the coast, and for his efforts to ensure the travel and tourism businesses impacted by the oil spill have their claims processed fully and quickly. The association also offered a four-point program to help the Gulf coast area recover. Obama addressed the nation last night on the crisis that includes the threat of loss jobs and revenues from the oil spill.

"Travel depends on perceptions, and President Obama's 'open for business' message will help to protect the Gulf Coast's 1 million travel industry jobs and $94 billion in annual spending," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The recovery process begins with the millions of annual visitors who support local restaurants, hotels, fisheries and the region's many attractions. President Obama's efforts to let the world know of the thousands of miles of unaffected coastline, push for BP to create an escrow account for future damage claims and to improve the claims process for local businesses demonstrates an important commitment to travel and tourism. We appreciate the President's leadership and stand ready to work with the Administration to swiftly navigate the road to recovery."

Dow, who met with Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke last night, added that the government's response needs to be focused on four key areas:

*    Minimizing panic by reminding travelers that impacts along the coast vary widely and by continuing to encourage visits to the Gulf states.
*    Ensuring that responsible parties provide substantial and adequate dollars for promotional efforts to assist the affected states in their ability to lead the recovery by attracting business and leisure travelers.
*    Assisting with obtaining resources from responsible parties to conduct research on the short- and long-term economic impact on travel and tourism in the affected states and local communities.
*    Ensuring funds are provided by responsible parties through a fair and efficient claims process that fully compensates businesses and individuals impacted by the oil spill.

U.S. Travel said it will soon make public additional policy proposals that government can embrace to address this and future disasters that may lead to a decline in travel.

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