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U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow revealed that there are "tremendous opportunities on the horizon" during his State of the Travel Industry Address at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Despite public health emergencies such as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, trade tensions and a challenging political environment, Dow informed stakeholders, media and policymakers that the travel industry is in an excellent position to expand and strengthen as it enters a new decade.
"We've built a pretty ambitious agenda, but it aligns perfectly with an industry as ambitious and invigorated as travel," said Dow. "We're betting big on the future because we know what our industry can achieve if we unite behind a vision, join together to advance common goals and put our shared interests first."
Dow outlined a handful of key strategies that will be vital to the industry's success moving forward, including promoting travel through trade, enhancing security, spurring pro-travel commerce and promoting a sustainable travel industry.
"In 2018, international travelers spent $256 billion when visiting the U.S.-generating a trade surplus of $69 billion. That's because every dollar spent by an international visitor on a hotel, meal, rental car or airplane ticket counts as a U.S. export," added Dow. "All this visitor spending makes travel America's No. 1 services export."
How do we pave the way for another amazing decade for travel? #TravelWorkspic.twitter.com/80mhcADnyF- U.S. Travel (@USTravel) February 5, 2020
How do we pave the way for another amazing decade for travel? #TravelWorkspic.twitter.com/80mhcADnyF
When it comes to improving security, Dow also talked about the importance of expanding biometrics and addressing the looming REAL ID crisis.
"Hoping that 99 million people will trudge down to the DMV for a new ID is no solution," he said. "Instead, let's adopt a few common-sense reforms to the REAL ID Act, like allowing people to start the process online, rather than in-line at the DMV and approving travelers for take-off who are already enrolled in programs with even higher background requirements than REAL ID, like PreCheck and Global Entry."
Dow also highlighted some significant legislative achievements of late, including Brand USA's seven-year reauthorization and the enactment of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
"We're proud to do this work because we do it on behalf of an amazing industry. An industry that offers limitless possibilities. That is driven by endless innovation. That delivers life-changing experiences. And fulfills the aspirations of millions of American workers," Dow concluded. "With the right policies in place, travel can continue to deliver these benefits, even as we expand travel's reach into new markets, deliver on the vision of seamless travel, unleash the future of mobility and lead responsibly."
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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