The Obama Administration's announced National Travel and Tourism Strategy is an important step that officially elevates the travel industry to what it should be: a national priority, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in statement. "It also recognizes the industry for its fundamental contribution to our economy, national security and public diplomacy."
"The National Strategy sets a goal of increasing U.S. jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. This is no small effort, but the opportunity for economic growth and new jobs is too great. The travel industry stands ready to work with the Administration in achieving this goal," Dow said.
Dow commend the effort that required extensive government-wide coordination and broad outreach to the private sector in a short amount of time.
"America has always been a nation of travelers, and there's nothing we love more than showing off our beautiful country to people from around the globe. As we move out of the recession, the wheels of the travel industry have not stopped turning. Since the job recovery began, our industry has created more than 250,000 new jobs – nearly 50,000 this year alone – which far outpaces gains in the rest of the economy or by other industries," Dow said.
In total, travel supports more than 14.4 million American jobs and contributes $1.9 trillion to our economy. As our nation works to close our trade deficit, travel exports have been booming. Travel exports totaled a record $152 billion in 2011, and the travel industry is now the number one contributor to our balance of trade.
"Today's announcement couldn't come at a better time. This week marks the 29th annual National Travel and Tourism Week – a week when local communities across the country are coming together in support of the travel industry and the millions of hardworking men and women it employs. As the National Strategy is implemented and the U.S. sees an increase in the amount of international visitors, those local communities will experience more jobs, economic growth and additional revenue." Dow said.
Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and chairman of the U.S. Travel Association board of directors, added, "U.S. Travel and private industry have worked collaboratively with the Obama Administration to strengthen the tourism industry. We support the efforts to make travel and tourism a priority. Jobs created by the industry stay in the United States and help stimulate the economy."