The U.S. travel industry next week launches the 26th Annual National Travel and Tourism Week with a nationwide focus on establishing travel as a solution to America's ongoing economic challenges. This year's theme - "Travel Matters" - highlights travel's unique ability to create jobs, stimulate economic recovery and drive needed tax revenue in all fifty states. The U.S. Travel Association is organizing simultaneous rallies in more than 30 cities coast-to-coast, the U.S. Senate is hosting a hearing and AOL® Travel will launch a special online feature for travelers on a budget.

"Our industry wants to do everything we can to strengthen the nation's economy by getting Americans back on the road and in the skies," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The travel dollar permeates the American economy and is critical to saving and creating the jobs that America desperately needs."

The activities planned for National Travel and Tourism Week include:

  • Travel Rally Day. Demonstrating their passion for travel, thousands of industry employees will take to the streets of more than 30 cities on May 12 to demonstrate their support for travel and its importance to state and local economies. The U.S. Travel Association organized the events, in part, to provide an outlet to the 2.4 million Americans whose jobs depend on the business travel that came under attack earlier this year by select policymakers and sensational media coverage. According to an analysis by Smith Travel Research and the U.S. Travel Association, the travel industry lost nearly $2 billion in January and February 2009 due to mass cancelations of business meetings and events.
  • Senate Hearing on Travel. Congress is stepping in to address the projected loss of nearly 450,000 travel-related jobs during 2008 and 2009. Chairman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member Mel Martinez (R-FL) from the U.S. Senate Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over travel issues will hold a hearing on May 13 to discuss how the industry and its 7.7 million employees are adapting to troubled times created by a depressed economy and continued barriers to travel, such as an antiquated air travel system and a global concern with the U.S. visa and entry process.
  • AOL® Travel special feature. AOL® Travel has developed a special online feature timed with National Travel and Tourism Week that includes approximately 100 U.S. Travel member organizations. "Free Things To Do Across America," a series of four regional galleries, is spotlighting free and interesting travel activities nationwide for travelers on a budget. AOL plans a promotional push beginning Monday that will last throughout the week and content will remain on the site throughout the summer available at travel.aol.com.
  • Congressional Resolution. The Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, co-chaired by Representative Sam Farr (D-CA-17) and Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO-7) has introduced a resolution (H.Con.Res.105) to support the designation of National Travel and Tourism Week that calls on elected officials from across the country to issue proclamations to raise awareness of the value of travel to the welfare of the nation and to encourage the President to issue a proclamation encouraging the people of the United States to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

For more information on cities participating in Travel Rally Day on May 12, visit http://www.ustravel.org/pressmedia/TWFA/participants.html.

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. In 2020, travel generated $1.5 trillion in economic output and supported 11 million jobs, a drastic decline from pre-pandemic figures. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.