Tori Emerson Barnes serves as Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Travel Association, where she leads the government relations, policy development, communications, marketing and research teams. She was appointed to this role in March 2019 after serving as the association’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations.

Elevating the importance of the travel industry in the trade, commerce and security arenas—including upgrading America’s air travel infrastructure, improving connectivity and growing the future of mobility along with promoting common-sense policies that effectively balance security and travel facilitation—are primary objectives of Barnes and the organization. 

Prior to joining U.S. Travel in November 2017, Barnes was an integral member of General Motors’ federal affairs team for more than fourteen years, playing a crucial role in strengthening GM’s presence on Capitol Hill, leading the company’s tax policy and trade strategies and managing political operations. She most recently served as Executive Director of Federal Affairs, and managed a diverse portfolio that included tax, trade, fuel economy, transportation, pension issues and political operations. Previously, she 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.

Barnes is on the board of the Congressional Women’s Softball Game and coaches the Members of Congress team, which plays an annual game against women in the press to raise money for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that works with young women facing breast cancer.

Barnes graduated from George Mason University, and also attended Miami University of Ohio.

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Optimizing the Coronavirus Relief Fund

September 17, 2020

Join the U.S. Travel government relations team as they walk through a detailed overview of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Learn from your industry colleagues from across the country...

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Infrastructure Week: How We Can Build for Tomorrow, Today

September 17, 2020

 Infrastructure investment should remain top of mind—not just to create jobs today, but in anticipation of a post-pandemic surge in travel demand. 

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Congress Must Act to Save U.S. Travel and Tourism Jobs

September 11, 2020

The evidence is clear: unless an economic and jobs recovery can be started for the hard-hit travel industry, there will be no recovery for the broader U.S. economy.

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September 04, 2020
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Congress, we are calling on you to finish the good work you started and finalize a deal immediately.

September 01, 2020
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The Let’s Go There Coalition held a webinar to walk through the recently released industry toolkit with resources to participate and amplify the Let’s Go There campaign beginning September 8. Several brands and organizations share how they are incorporating materials into their September marketing...


August 06, 2020
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As reopening continues, confidence builds and the emotional connection to travel returns, the Let's Go There campaign will look to incentivize Americans to book and take a trip by providing industrywide offers and discounts to compel Americans to act during a pre-determined booking window. This...


July 31, 2020
Policy: Image of the Capitol, Washington, DC

Following months of positive engagement with Congress, we are pleased to report there is much to like in the HEALS Act, the Senate version of the next round of coronavirus relief.

July 28, 2020
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The U.S. Travel team provides an update on the HEALS Act. Tune in to hear what that means for the travel industry and ways to continue activating for relief. View the presentation slides here .


July 23, 2020
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This webinar provides a deep dive into advocacy efforts to secure relief, protection and stimulus for the travel industry. Gain insights on anticipated bill timing, next steps and ways you can easily engage to amplify industry priorities . Additionally, Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah...