Coming to America

Travel is a huge business in the US and in fact around the world. Current statistisc show that the travel industry in the US generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs so it is nice to see the Federal Government take the industry seriously.

Our insiders tell us that recently the U.S. Travel Association, along with select industry leaders, convened at the White House to discuss America’s top travel and tourism priorities and advance the goals of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy. This strategy which President Obama launched in May 2012 is ambitious. They want to draw 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021.

The small-group meeting featured Administration officials and senior-level staff from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Commerce, the National Park Service, the National Economic Council and the International Trade Administration. Participants discussed national policies and programs to bolster U.S. travel security and infrastructure, welcome more visitors from across the globe and, ultimately, position travel and tourism as a long-term driver of U.S. economic growth.

“Today’s meeting is yet another example of the Administration’s commitment to invest in and leverage the power of travel, which is growing jobs at a rate 19 percent faster than the rest of the economy,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “To further build on this sector’s growth and realize the Administration’s travel and tourism strategy goals, we need to take action on critical measures discussed in today’s meeting, including increasing necessary investment in travel infrastructure, expanding the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and reauthorizing Brand USA this year.

“We are privileged to have met at the White House today and look forward to continue working with the Administration, Congress and our industry partners to realize the great contributions created by travel to and within the United States,” concluded Dow.

The meeting took place as we were getting updates on the US airline industry and how it impacts the wider economy. The statistics are fascinating.  US scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,819 workers in January 2014, 0.5 percent more than in January 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). January was the second consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger carriers was higher than the same month of the previous year after 15 months of declines. So it looks like the airlines are definitely feeling strong enough to hire again and that’s great news for all of us.