In an unusual if welcomed move, the U.S. Travel Association strongly urged President Obama and Congressional leaders to agree on a balanced approach that averts the "fiscal cliff" before the end of 2012.
In a statement, Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel, warned of the economic uncertainty the fiscal cliff could mean for the travel industry, consumers and the economy.
"The U.S. travel industry is a national economic driver, supporting 14.4 million American jobs and generating $1.9 trillion in economic output. In November, the travel industry enjoyed its twelfth consecutive month of employment growth. However, the looming combination of indiscriminate spending cuts and higher taxes for middle-class Americans will have a profound impact on travel spending, and the economy broadly, should Washington fail to act," Dow said.
"The uncertainty over the economic impact of the fiscal cliff and potentially significant tax increases is delaying decisions about travel. If unresolved, millions of American families may be left without the means to take a vacation and businesses are certain to roll back their travel spending. Less travel will affect communities from coast-to-coast with small businesses paying the highest price. Reductions in travel will force employers to make difficult decisions in a labor-intensive industry suffering from fewer customers," Dow said.
"In addition, the indiscriminate spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year will also deter travelers by eroding our nation's travel infrastructure. Massive cuts to the budgets of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration will mean fewer security officers to process travelers through busy airports, continued flight delays and fewer critical bridge and highway repairs. Poor travel experiences today will impact decisions to travel far into the future – whether for American families or international visitors, who spent $153 billion during visits to the U.S. in 2011," Dow said.
"The U.S. Travel Association recognizes the need to: remove uncertainty from the markets; reduce our country's budget deficit with significant long-term approaches to entitlement spending and other drivers of our debt; and reform the tax code to encourage American competitiveness," Dow said.
"We stand ready to work with leaders in both parties on a sustainable path forward – one that averts the cliff today, boosts consumer and business confidence, and ensures continued economic growth in the future," Dow said.