National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with this year's theme being “the Spirit of Travel.”
Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to underscore the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 37th NTTW (May 3-9), according to the U.S. Travel Association, arrives at an opportune moment to unite the industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit and elevate the role it will play in America's economic and employment recovery. This year, however, the celebration will be virtual.
"Through every hardship, I find myself in awe of the travel industry's ability to join together, adapt, and emerge stronger than before," said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow in an official release. "This is our toughest challenge yet, but what I've seen in recent weeks is that the spirit of travel has not been shattered."
With more than 5.9 million travel-related jobs projected to be lost by the end of April and travel-related economic output expected to drop $910 billion this year amidst the pandemic, navigating the worst of the crisis and kickstarting the industry's eventual recovery are crucial. The recently passed CARES Act includes hard-won provisions that will deliver some relief, but much work remains. U.S. Travel is advocating to ensure that subsequent rounds of legislative relief are structured to provide further support specifically to travel-related businesses, organizations and their employees.
"The true spirit of the travel industry is in its workforce," said Dow. "It is the workers who will help power America's economic recovery, which is why Congress must continue to do everything it can to support them through this painful time."
As in-person rallies and advocacy that have been hallmarks of NTTW in years past are not an option this year, U.S. Travel is encouraging engagement in a number of virtual and digital ways. U.S. Travel has built a resource toolkit with alternative options to promote the spirit of travel. These resources have a heavy emphasis on social media engagement, encourage optimism and preparation for the future, and how to support coronavirus relief efforts.
Dow added, “It's more important than ever that we remind our communities, our policymakers and even ourselves about travel's enormous contributions to the health of our economy and to the American way of life."