The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association was the only LGBT organization included in a discussion between U.S. travel industry leaders and senior administration officials at the White House late last week. The briefing highlighted ways to promote U.S. tourism by improving customs and other border procedures that foreign visitors face when they visit the United States.
Administration officials gave an update on the economy and discussed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies work to promote tourism while protecting borders. The briefing included a discussion on ways to improve tourists’ experiences by upgrading U.S. points of entry as well as panels on infrastructure development and travel promotion.
“It was an honor to receive an invitation to this meeting. It demonstrates the administration’s ongoing commitment to LGBT inclusion and the increased importance placed on LGBT travel,” IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella, who represented the association at the White House, said in a statement. “I was able to engage in some frank dialogue about the need for better treatment of same-sex couples as they go through U.S. customs.”
Leaders from several IGLTA member businesses and partner organizations included: the United States Tour Operators Association, American Airlines, NYC & Company, Choose Chicago, LA Convention & Visitors Board, and the American Society of Travel Agents.
Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Ken Hyatt said in a statement that partnerships between government and industry are benefiting the entire travel and tourism sector. “The Obama administration is committed to building upon the efforts of these partnerships and exploring new alliances as we strive to meet the ambitious goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to attract 100 million visitors to the United States by 2021,” he added.