Digital News Report- President Obama recently met with 13 top travel industry leaders to discuss the role that travel can play in strengthening the American economy. The meeting mostly focused on the need to welcome more international visitors and the business community’s concerns about the dramatic nationwide downturn in meetings and events.
“We are pleased that President Obama recognizes the power of travel to strengthen America’s economy,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The travel community has an ally in President Obama and we appreciate the leadership he intends to bring to increasing travel to, and within, the United States.”
The travel industry currently employs 7.7 million Americans and generates more than $740 billion in spending annually. The Travel Promotion Act was discussed during the meeting, which would create a fund to promote the United States as an international destination. On average, overseas visitors spend about $4,000 per person per visit.
“Travel will play a critical role in driving America’s economic recovery,” said Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels and Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Travel Association. “We are pleased to have the support of President Obama and his team, and look forward to working with them in the days ahead.”
Participants also discussed the need to maximize the benefits of business meetings and events, which generate more than $100 billion in spending and create more than one million jobs that are the lifeblood of local communities across the country. Business events have seen a dramatic downturn since the controversial retreats by AIG and other companies were publisized.