The Obama Administration's release of its National Travel and Tourism Strategy won applause from the NTA who congratulated Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who co-chaired the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness and led the effort to draft the historic document.
"With the Executive Order in January that called for the creation of this national strategy, President Obama sent a clear message about tourism's positive impact on jobs creation and economic growth. We applaud the bold steps to document the actions to build on our industry's successes," the NTA said.
NTA was one of the numerous associations and organizations that provided input to the task force.
"This set of policies, actions and recommendations seeks to build upon the already significant contribution that travel and tourism has on American jobs and the economy overall. The goal set forward by the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness is to encourage Americans to travel within the United States and its territories and to increase American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. It's estimated that these international visitors will spend $250 billion," the NTA said.
"As an association focused on travel to and within the United States, we're pleased to see the strategy addresses many key initiatives that support our mission of increasing business for our members and the industry overall," NTA said.
Key points made in the NTA's analysis include:
• "The strategy discusses an international travel promotion campaign with Brand USA. We recently announced our partnership with Brand USA to create the Discover America Pavilion at November's China International Travel Mart. We'll use the expertise and connections of our NTA Visit USA Center in Shanghai to make this an outstanding opportunity to promote all the United States has to offer."
• "The Small Business Administration will help prepare our nation's small businesses for the upcoming travel season. The SBA will present a webinar on May 30 to small businesses who want to learn how to work with tour operators."
• "Many people want to visit the U.S., but a sometimes onerous visa process inhibits and discourages international visitors. NTA will continue its long-time active support of easing the visa process and expanding visa waiver access to more countries; specifically building capacity for China, one of our key growth markets for the U.S."
• "The task force has ear-marked increased visitation at our public lands, specifically lesser-known areas, as another strategy. NTA is a long-time proponent of the National Park Service and will continue its work with the NPS and Department of the Interior."
The NTA also thanked Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs Representatives Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), and Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Roy Blount (R-Mo.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).