Election Day is almost here.
While the big day approaches and we look toward what may be historic turnout, I have been asked this question with increasing frequency.
What does the election mean for the U.S. Travel Association and the industry we represent?
My initial response to this surprises some people: despite the fact that I work in Washington, I do not have a vested interest in who are the election’s winners. We advocate on behalf of our membership to leaders on both sides of the aisle. And while our approach may change and the issues may vary based on who’s in power, our charge and our commitment to serving our members remain the same.
I’ve sat across the table from Barack Obama, and now I’ve sat across the table from Donald Trump. While these two presidents are obviously dissimilar in their views, the message that I brought with me to the West Wing was the same: travel is a jobs provider, and when it thrives, so does America. It’s the same message I’ve had the opportunity to share with dozens of House and Senate lawmakers across the political spectrum, too.
Travel is not a red or blue issue; its impact is felt in every state and in every congressional district. Travel drives economies in our largest cities and our smallest towns, and every national park, restaurant or attraction in between. This industry has a $2.4 trillion economic output and supports 15.6 million American jobs across all industries. Travel workers are Democrats and Republicans; they are housekeepers and park rangers and sales managers.
They are the reason why U.S. Travel exists, and will continue to push for more pro-travel, pro-growth policies—no matter the outcome on Tuesday. We had champions on both sides of the aisle in the 115th Congress, and that bipartisan support for our objectives will surely continue in the new Congress, when our work begins anew to demonstrate travel’s impact in every congressional district and state and territory across America.
In October, 70 members of the House—36 Republicans and 34 Democrats—sent a letter to House leadership touting the value of Brand USA and the critical need to reauthorize the program. A bipartisan bill to address the maintenance repairs in our national parks passed the House earlier this month, and there has been bipartisan support in favor of expanding and renaming the Visa Waiver Program. Travel has always been a unifying issue, and we are eager to work with all members of the 116th Congress to grow this industry even further.
We look forward to meeting with new and returning members of Congress and advocating for the policies that are critical to our mission of growing travel to and within the United States.