WASHINGTON -

U.S. Travel Association hosted its third annual Future of Travel Mobility event at Washington’s Union Station on Wednesday, uniting travel industry executives, government officials, business leaders and public policy experts for critical discussions on the future of travel and transportation in the United States. 

“The policies and innovation that fueled the last decade of the travel industry’s expansion will not be the same ones driving growth in the years to come,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “By bringing together leaders across travel, transportation, technology and government, we are charting a future for travel that is more seamless, secure and efficient.”

Discussions focused on issues at the intersection of innovation and public policy, such as the challenges of increasing demand and meeting sustainability imperatives, creating a more efficient, secure travel experience, and the new modes and capabilities that will define the future of travel.

U.S. Travel's Future of Travel Mobility 2023 | Full Recording from U.S. Travel on Vimeo.

Solutions to government challenges and opportunities to work collaboratively were central to the event’s discussions. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves emphasized the importance of effective policymaking in shaping the future of travel and facilitating economic growth.

“There has to be a whole-of-government approach to support an industry that is absolutely vital to the U.S. economy,” said Deputy Secretary Graves.

Kevin McAleenan, former acting director of Homeland Security and CBP Commissioner and CEO of Pangiam, said that technology will be a key driver of mobility innovation but that it must be “coupled with good policy and opportunities to integrate across multiple steps of the cycle.”

Certain solutions to meet sustainability imperatives like the production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will require additional federal government collaboration and innovation.

American Airlines Chief Sustainability Officer Jill Blickstein noted the importance of SAFs in reducing carbon emissions but acknowledged that more work must be done to increase the viability of SAFs.

“SAFs are a great idea, but there is almost none of it,” Blickstein said.

“Government incentives are so important for the implementation of SAFs,” added American Express Global Business Travel Vice President of Global Sustainability Nora Lovell Marchant.

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Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves (L) and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves (L) and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. Photo by Ana Isabel Photography.

There were commitments from policymakers and the private sector to continue improving the overall travel experience.

“Our future vision is for the security experience to be so seamless that people don’t even realize they are going through a security checkpoint,” said Transportation Security Administration Deputy Administrator Holly Canevari.

Delta Air Lines Vice President of Government Affairs Heather Wingate echoed the importance of an end-to-end, seamless travel experience.

“We want our customers to have an experience at the airport that meets the onboard experience,” said Wingate. “It is in our interest to ensure that the travel experience, from start to finish, is a positive one.”

Rep. Garret Graves (LA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, said he is focused on creating a more seamless air travel experience “from curb to curb” and praised the recent confirmation of Michael Whitaker as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Administrator Whitaker has the potential to come in and help break the log jam on contentious issues,” said Rep. Graves.

Hilton President and CEO and U.S. Travel National Chair Chris Nassetta ended the day on a note of optimism.

“Long term, I feel really great about the demand for travel and tourism continuing to grow,” said Nassetta. “I think there is still pent-up demand.”

There were nearly 25 speakers from both the private and public sectors, including:

  • American Airlines
    Jill Blickstein, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Metropolitan Airports Commission
    Brian Ryks, Executive Director & CEO
     
  • American Express Global Business Travel 
    Nora Lovell Marchant, Vice President, Global Sustainability
  • Miami-Dade County
    Carlos Cruz-Casas, P.E., Chief Innovation Officer, Office of Innovation & Mobility Services
     
  • Archer Aviation
    Tom Anderson, Chief Operating Officer
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation
    Justine Johnson, Chief Mobility Officer
     
  • BETA Technologies
    Blain Newton, Chief Operating Officer
  • Office of Sen. Peters (MI)
    Mariel Jorgensen, Sr. Legislative Assistant
     
  • Blink Charging
    Brendan Jones, President & CEO
  • Pangiam and Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security & CBP Commissioner 
    Kevin McAleenan, CEO
     
  • Boeing
    Ben Ivers, Director of Autonomous Systems and Regulatory Affairs
     
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
    Holly Canevari, Deputy Administrator
  • Capitol Riverfront BID
    Emeka Moneme, President
  • Travel Michigan
    Dave Lorenz, Vice President
  • Delta Air Lines
    Heather Wingate, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
  • U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee 
    Congressman Garret Graves (LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation
     
  • Ferrovial
    Shawn Kinder, Global Corporate Development & Strategy Director – Airports
  • U.S. Travel Association
    Geoff Freeman, President & CEO
  • Hilton
    Chris Nassetta, President & CEO
  • U.S. Travel Association
    Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs & Policy
     
  • JetBlue Airways
    Joanna Geraghty, President & COO
  • United Airlines
    Lauren Riley, Chief Sustainability Officer and Managing Director, Global Environmental Affairs
     
  • JobsOhio
    Terry Slaybaugh, Vice President, Sites & Infrastructure
  • Vertical Aerospace
    Andrew Macmillan, Chief Commercial & Strategy Officer



“This lineup of esteemed speakers comprised some of the brightest minds in policy and innovation,” said Freeman. “U.S. Travel was proud to convene this group to help advance our goal of building a world-class travel experience for the future.”

American Express is the official card of U.S. Travel Association and title sponsor of the 2023 event.

Next year’s Future of Travel Mobility will take place on November 20, 2024.


 

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.2 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation's economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.

 

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Greg Staley

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