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The U.S. Travel Association's Future of Travel Mobility conference held on September 20 at Washington, D.C.'s Union Station gathered leading members of the nation's travel, technology and transportation companies as well as public officials to address the biggest issues travel mobility faces and its key focus for the decade to come, stressing sustainability and technological innovation at the forefront.
Speakers and participants included the U.S. Travel Association President and CEO, Geoff Freeman and key leaders from companies like Amtrak, American Airlines, Carnival Cruise Line, American Express Travel, Hilton, Enterprise Holdings, New Orleans & Company, MGM Resorts International, Boom Supersonic and more.
Government officials included Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) from the U.S. House of Representatives, Laurence Wildgoose from the FAA, along with senior advisers from the White House and a representative from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Topics ranged from making EV infrastructure stronger across the country to innovations like autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, as well as the challenges of making both of these options more accessible throughout the nation.
White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu said, "It's not just about building a bridge, it's about who's building it, what it's made of, where it's going and what communities get access to it. It's about lifting America up and moving her generations forward."
The conference also addressed a shift in consumer preferences towards sustainability. With business travel expected to make a strong comeback this year going into 2023, setting clear sustainability goals and implementing initiatives now are crucial.
"Travelers increasingly want to do the right thing when it comes to sustainable and responsible travel," said Sangeeta Naik, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships & Marketing, American Express Travel. "Our customers are demanding this and holding us all accountable."
While the demand for leisure travel is still high and business travel is expected to pick up soon, the industry is still facing rising inflation and changing fuel prices, which can lessen demand and could stall innovations, including the implementation of sustainability initiatives.
"As the industry continues to face impediments to its full recovery, the Future of Travel Mobility conference was a golden opportunity to advance the policies critical to a more sustainable, innovative future for travel mobility," said Freeman. "By bringing together travel and government thought leaders, we can ensure alignment on key issues that will make travel more globally competitive and sustainable for decades to come."
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Lacey Pfalz is a freelance Associate Writer for TravelPulse. When she's not writing about traveling, she's often found fussing...
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