The U.S. Travel Association on Thursday announced the promotion of Tori Barnes to Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy following the departure of Jonathan Grella.
Grella led U.S. Travel’s advocacy arm since May of 2013, and leaves to start his own firm, JAG Public Affairs.
Barnes, who was previously a top lobbyist for General Motors, joined U.S. Travel in November of 2017 as Senior Vice President of Government Relations. In that time, she has secured some impressive legislative achievements for the organization, as well as sustained engagement with the country’s top policymakers.
Under Barnes’ watch, U.S. Travel’s CEO Roundtable—a biannual meeting of the industry’s top corporate leaders—met for the first time with President Trump, and the organization’s leaders have sat down regularly with members of his cabinet and top leaders in Congress. Barnes’ tenure has seen a favorable government decision in the debate over Open Skies aviation agreements; the reintroduction of the JOLT Act with strong bipartisan support; the passage of an FAA bill with numerous pro-travel provisions on board; and, most recently, the passage and signing of the public lands bill package to protect and enhance our national parks. Barnes has also developed into the organization’s leading public spokesperson on legislative matters.
“It is a testament to the quality of Jonathan’s leadership that he leaves in place such a flawless continuity structure,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We have always prioritized a deep bench of talent, so promoting Tori was about the easiest and most obvious decision I could have hoped for. I am completely confident that our advocacy agenda won’t miss a single beat.”
As EVP, Barnes will oversee U.S. Travel’s Government Relations, Communications, Research, Marketing, and Grassroots/PAC departments.
U.S. Travel will retain Grella in a consulting role.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. Travelers in the United States are estimated to spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). U.S. Travel advocates for policies to accelerate an even recovery across the travel industry and restore economic and job growth for this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.