USTA White House Meeting Encourages International Travel Growth

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International travel; Photo Credit: Nils Nedel/Unsplash

U.S. Travel Association (USTA) officials, joined by 13 CEOs for top hospitality companies, met with White House officials on Sept. 4 to discuss the state of inbound international travel to the country.

When the current administration announced a travel ban last year, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) found that roughly 37 percent of US business travel professionals expected a reduction in their company’s travel due to the executive order. And since the travel ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in late June, now seemed like the best time for the USTA to remind the current administration of the essential contributions that international travel has on the US economy and job creation—$845 billion of which can be attributed to meetings.

The conversation highlighted ways the White House administration and the travel industry can work together to achieve travel-related growth, especially growth regarding inbound international travel. Both sides discussed hot-button topics like expanding and enhancing secure visa policies and supporting the Brand USA destination marketing agency.

Another major issue on the table was transportation infrastructure, which is critical to growth of both international and domestic travel. Of note, the White House’s latest budget released earlier this year proposed defunding Amtrak’s long-distance routes.

“There is a global international travel boom, and there is a huge opportunity to greatly expand upon the already strong economy.”

“Our discussion was simple: a strong flow of international business and leisure travelers into the US reduces the trade deficit and creates an outsize number of American jobs,” says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the USTA. “There is a global international travel boom, and there is a huge opportunity to greatly expand upon the already strong economy.”

The other 13 execs in attendance included: Geoff Ballotti of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Phil Brown of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (attending in his role as chair of U.S. Travel’s Gateway Airports Council); Kevin Frid of AccorHotels; Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group; George Markantonis of Las Vegas Sands Corporation; Chris Nassetta of Hilton; Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels International; Joe Popolo of Freeman; James Risoleo of Host Hotels & Resorts Inc.; Arne Sorenson of Marriott International; John Sprouls of Universal Parks & Resorts; and Greg Stubblefield of Enterprise Holdings Inc.

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