The U.S. Travel Association conducted a “Travel Works for America” Power Hour with Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rick Larsen and nearly 20 Washington state travel and business leaders at Bellingham’s Whatcom Museum on June 18. Participants discussed the continuous positive impact that travel has on the region and local businesses.

“Travel is a cornerstone for communities like Bellingham and others across the state of Washington and beyond, providing jobs for local workers and boosting the nation’s global competitiveness,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy. “We appreciate the opportunity to join Congressman Larsen for a discussion on how Congress can further support the growth of travel to his district and throughout the United States and applaud his work to help secure a five-year reauthorization for the FAA. Thank you, too, to the leadership of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism for warmly welcoming us for the meeting.”

“Travel works for Bellingham and Whatcom County, annually attracting over 3 million visitors, generating more than $750 million in visitor spending, and helping to support over 7,700 jobs,” said Dylan Deane-Boyle, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism (BWCT). "BWCT was proud to host Congressman Rick Larsen for an important conversation with our leading tourism stakeholders. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with the State of Washington Tourism (SWT) and U.S. Travel on this event and thank Congressman Rick Larsen for his continued investment in this essential industry."

“Congressman Larsen is a travel champion in Washington, D.C. and I know I speak for our statewide industry in thanking him for his leadership and work on critical initiatives such as enactment of the bipartisan FAA Reauthorization bill,” said David Blandford, CEO, State of Washington Tourism.


State of Washington travel leaders joined Rep. Larsen (center) at a U.S. Travel Works Power Hour. Click to download image

The Power Hour agenda included critical topics such as modernizing and improving the travel process through legislation including the recent Federal Aviation Administration renewal; the FIFA World Cup games in 2026 in Seattle and 10 other cities nationwide; the need to lower lengthy wait times for U.S. visitor visas; as well as air service development to the state.

Participants also discussed Washington’s ferry service; hospitality education and support; full funding for the new Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism at the U.S. Department of Commerce; and the reauthorization of Brand USA, the official destination marketing organization for the United States.


U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.3 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 for more information.



Greg Staley

Head of Media Relations

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