U.S Travel Launches Online Town Hall for Industry

An innovative way for the travel industry’s 10 million employees to engage in the November 2010 Congressional elections has been launched by the U.S. Travel Association. The association has created a “Virtual Travel Town Hall” where candidates are asked to respond to the most significant travel-related questions facing the industry. It is also expected to increase industry awareness of the importance of the elections and the diversity of issues facing the travel industry.

The effort comes on the heels of more than 400,000 lost travel industry jobs since 2008 and one of the most active periods for the travel industry in Washington, U.S. Travel says. This includes public policies related to the BP oil spill, the discouragement of corporate meetings and events, the H1N1 outbreak and enactment of the Travel Promotion Act.

“As Washington plays an increasingly active role in our business, it’s critical that our employees play a more active role in Washington,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Our industry must become a force in all elements of the political process, not just when times are tough or when we need something from policymakers. Our 10 million employees can be tremendous allies to those who recognize the power of travel to create jobs, fund essential services and stimulate local economies.”

Under the brand of its newly formed “Power of Travel Coalition,” U.S. Travel has extended invitations to more than 150 Congressional candidates to submit a video or written answers to three questions chosen by travel industry employees during the month of August. The questions will be submitted to participating candidates by September 13 and candidate videos or written responses will be posted on the Coalition’s Virtual Travel Town Hall webpage (travelcoalition.org/townhall) on October 4, one month prior to the elections.

The Power of Travel Coalition’s inaugural Virtual Travel Town Hall will allow you to get your questions answered. Whether you want to know how the candidates plan to keep travel jobs in your district or state or how they will protect your community’s tourism industry after a disaster, they should be providing answers to you. In a few weeks, U.S. Travel will ask you to vote on the top three questions that should be asked of all candidates participating in the Virtual Travel Town Hall. Then, on October 4, you’ll be able to see for yourself what the candidates have to say about the most pressing issues for travel employees.

The timeline:
*    August 12-25: Submit questions
*    August 30 - September 10: Vote on the top three questions.
*    October 1: Check back to view the candidates’ responses.”

“This initiative provides Congressional candidates with the opportunity to support one in nine American workers in an industry that is 2.5 times the auto industry and a top ten employer in nearly every U.S. state,” added Dow.

U.S. Travel is partnering with major hotel chains, attractions, convention and visitor bureaus, travel-related associations and others to ensure the most significant electoral participation in the travel industry’s history.

Visit www.ustravel.org.



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