When I look back on 2020 and consider the great difficulties our industry has endured, I realize that there are a handful of fitting words that we did not hear enough: “Tenacity” “resilience” and “fortitude.” Amid all that was lost, I would encourage us to look back on this year remembering how our industry united like never before, lifted each other up, aided one another, and devoted ourselves fully to the task of securing multiple rounds of federal relief while navigating both the pandemic and a contentious political environment. 

And, together, we did it.

Nine months after the pandemic effectively halted travel, Congress passed a relief package that includes numerous measures our industry fought hard to secure. Thanks to all of you, our valued members and industry partners, the long nights, uncertainty and tough decisions were not in vain. 

While we have capped off the year with a hard-fought win, it was simply a bridge to get us to 2021. Please know that our work is not done. We will continue the fight for additional relief—and eventually stimulus—for all sectors of the travel industry. But before we advance our mission in the new year, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this year and the efforts it took to get us here.

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A Year in Review

We began the year with U.S. Travel’s State of the Travel Industry address, which touted the remarkable growth our industry experienced over the past decade; we were poised for even more gains in 2020. Then it came to a screeching halt in March.

Immediately, our entire industry—from destination marketing organizations to attractions and theme parks, hotels and resorts to the meetings and events sector, airlines and airports to tour companies—began assessing the mounting damages and mobilizing to secure federal relief. The CARES Act was passed at the end of March, providing over $2 trillion in economic relief—but crucial segments of the travel industry were excluded, and we knew months of difficult work lay ahead.

Below is a video that captures much of what our industry faced this year—together. I want to thank each and every one of our members and partners across the industry for your efforts to save travel. Truly, we could not have done this without you.


While we’ll struggle to find the words to properly convey the challenges of this year, many words do come to mind when I think about our industry and all that we accomplished. I have spent my entire career in travel, yet every day I am increasingly amazed by how collegial, supportive, united and resilient our industry is, especially in the face of great difficulty. I feel hopeful for 2021 and the promises that the new year brings, and I’m looking forward to seeing you—in person—soon.

In This The Itinerary
Roger Dow is the former president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, the Washington, D.C.-based organization representing all segments of travel in America. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. View Profile ›

U.S. Travel Association

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