All around the world, Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is affecting already-fragile economies, global business and commerce, critical food sources and it is taking a horrific human toll.

Earlier this week, U.S. Travel hosted a webinar focused on the Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on travel and as well as the broader global uncertainties. All around the world, Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is affecting already-fragile economies, global business and commerce, critical food sources and it is taking a horrific human toll.

Our webinar, in partnership with AHLA, featured an exclusive take from my friend and a highly sought-after expert on national security issues, Hon. Mike Rogers, a former Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where he represented Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District.

The conversation also contemplated the United States’ global relationships and the importance of strengthening diplomatic ties through travel. In fact, travel is a critical, sometimes stealth, form of diplomacy, and its benefits should never be underestimated nor underappreciated.

According to Destination Analysts, of international travelers who visited the U.S. in the previous two years (as of January 2020), more than half (55%) indicated their first-hand experience improved or greatly improved their overall perception of the U.S.

In a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult, in three European and three Asian markets, more than half of the 1,800 respondents indicated they were very likely to travel internationally in the next 12 months, and close to three-quarters (72%) agree that they value exploring the world and seeing new destinations MORE now than before the pandemic.

We’ve all missed traveling––seeing sights, exploring the unknown, learning more about oneself and the world around us––travel is powerful and travel matters. Now is the time to ensure we are welcoming visitors and making it more seamless to come to the United States from around the world so we can introduce travelers, or remind them, about all the experiences this incredible country has to offer.

When we welcome more visitors to the United States, whether for leisure or for business, we have more of an opportunity to honor cultural differences and develop a deeper understanding with people of all ethnic, diverse and religious backgrounds.

When we experience each other’s cultures, ways of life and uniqueness, we realize we are not really all that different. We can learn from each other and value alternative perspectives––and that is a powerful tool for building global relationships.


Tori Emerson Barnes is Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, at the U.S. Travel Association, the leading voice for all segments of the U.S. travel and tourism industry. Barnes directs the association's government and political affairs, external and industry communications, marketing and research teams. View Profile ›

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