The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday voted unanimously (56-0) in favor of the Visit America Act (H.R. 6965), which “implements measures to support the U.S. travel and tourism industry and to address the declining percentage of international visitors to the United States.”
First introduced in March 2022 by Reps. Dina Titus, Ed Case and Don Young, the bill would require the Department of Commerce to develop a 10-year travel and tourism strategy with annual goals for the number of international visitors to the United States and for travel exports. It would also establish the role of assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism, whose responsibilities shall include:
- Setting an annual goal for the number of international visitors to the United States
- Providing support for improved visitor visa processing
- Promoting travel exports abroad
Following the news, U.S. Travel Association EVP of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes noted the association’s support of the bill and the committee. “Measures contained in this legislation—including the creation of an assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism—will ensure travel issues receive a higher level of focused energy and private-sector collaboration and help the United States compete for valuable international conferences and events,” she said.
Barnes continued: “As travel and tourism rebounds, this common-sense legislation will assure the federal government focuses on policies that support sustained recovery and the future competitiveness of our industry.”
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee previously approved the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021 (S. 3375), which includes the Visit America Act and several other policies that support travel’s recovery. Barnes concluded by saying, “We encourage Congress to enact these measures this year.”