Tori Emerson Barnes is Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, at the U.S. Travel Association, the leading voice for all segments of the U.S. travel and tourism industry. Barnes directs the association's government and political affairs, external and industry communications, marketing and research teams.

Barnes is highly regarded on Capitol Hill and across the industry for managing a portfolio of domestic and international travel issues focused on transportation and infrastructure, security and travel facilitation, tax policy, sustainable travel practices, Brand USA, and national parks and public lands.

She is a manager of the association’s CEO Roundtable, a leader on multiple industrywide coalitions, a frequent presence in the news media, and the creator of U.S. Travel’s Travel Works Roadshow and the Future of Travel Mobility, a forward-looking advocacy conference and new event series. 

Barnes is credited with securing pandemic-related federal relief utilized by hundreds of travel businesses and destinations. In 2020, she helped stand up the Let’s Go There Coalition that united dozens of major businesses and organizations in a national consumer campaign to inspire future travel amid the pandemic. The effort evolved into the Let’s Meet There Coalition to focus on the safe restart of business travel and professional meetings and events.

The Hill has named Barnes one of Washington’s top lobbyists for three consecutive years. She was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in Travel by the Global Business Travel Association’s WINiT and selected as a Leading Lobbyist by Association Trends in 2020.

Barnes is on the board of the Congressional Women’s Softball Game and coaches the Members of Congress team, which plays an annual game versus women in the press to raise money for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization for young women facing breast cancer. She also is a founding member of the Boom Supersonic Sustainable Travel Forum. 

Prior to joining U.S. Travel in November 2017, Barnes was an integral member of General Motors’ federal affairs team for more than 14 years, where her efforts led to the enactment of the electric vehicle tax credit for consumers. She has also served as a congressional liaison for the Republican National Committee, and as director of fundraising and events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s National Capital Chapter.

A Washington, D.C. native, Barnes graduated from George Mason University and attended Miami University of Ohio. In 2014, Barnes participated in GM’s Inaugural Stanford Business School Transformational Leadership program for senior executives. She is an avid runner and loves to exercise, ski, travel and spend time with her daughter, family and friends.

All Posts

By Tori Emerson Barnes
content media

Let's Meet There: Recovering Business Travel, Professional Meetings and Events

June 24, 2021

This industry-wide webinar covers the launch of our latest campaign… Let’s Meet There. As domestic leisure travel...

View Webinar
content media

Updated CDC Guidance Is a Positive Step, but More Guidance Is Needed on Cruising

April 08, 2021

While the CDC’s new guidance is a welcome development, not all sectors of travel have received consistent guidance related to resuming operations, particularly cruise lines.

Read More
content media

Understanding and Accessing American Rescue Plan Relief

March 16, 2021

This webinar features the U.S. Travel government relations team as they walk through the travel-related provisions provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021—the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes much-needed federal assistance and substantial support to aid our industry’s recovery—as well as important details on accessing available relief. 

View Webinar
March 12, 2021
media White House

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law.

February 18, 2021
content media

The future of travel is amid a revolution of new and improved technologies, enhancing the experience of both consumers and businesses. Join us for our next Assessing Recovery webinar where we will focus on how the growing use of biometrics and various touchless solutions throughout the traveler...


January 21, 2021
content media

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has begun in the United States, providing a long-awaited light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and bringing to life the number one assurance travelers need—a vaccine. In this webinar, we share the latest data on the correlation between inoculation and travel...


January 13, 2021
content media

As we look ahead to the start of our recovery in 2021, membership at U.S. Travel is evolving to meet the changing needs of this industry. To ensure we are meeting the needs of the entire travel ecosystem as we face an entirely new chapter, we have re-imagined our membership structure and offering...


January 07, 2021
content media

The U.S. Travel government relations team provides an in-depth overview of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package and the components of the legislation that have important impacts on travel businesses. Learn how to access relief, when funds will be made available and other considerations you should...


November 12, 2020
content media

The full recovery of travel will depend on many factors—but what role can swift, reliable and available testing have to accelerate the return of safe travel? Dr. Mike Parkinson, U.S. Travel's chief medical consultant, breaks down the different types of tests being used, the reliability of each and...