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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By Tori Emerson Barnes
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The Role of COVID-19 Testing in the Recovery of Travel

November 12, 2020

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...

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Harvard Study: ‘Low Risk’ of COVID-19 Transmission When Flying

October 29, 2020

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a first-phase report that found, through a layered approach to risk mitigation, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission on aircraft.

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A Global Effort: The Road To Reopening International Air Travel

October 28, 2020

As the travel and tourism industry around the world continues to confront the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, significant strides are underway to restart global air travel when the time is...

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October 22, 2020
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The travel industry cannot bounce back without travelers, and travelers need assurance that the act of traveling is safe.

October 19, 2020
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The availability of scientific data is hugely beneficial in restoring consumers’ confidence in the ability to fly safely.

October 01, 2020
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The Recovery of Air travel explored the importance of air travel recovery as well as the current state of air travel, updates that have been made to the experience and where it is headed. A panel discussion focused on how the air travel experience has changed, including health and safety protocols...


September 17, 2020
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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 on how they are working to gain access to relief, distributing the dollars and maximizing the resources for recovery...


September 17, 2020
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Infrastructure investment should remain top of mind—not just to create jobs today, but in anticipation of a post-pandemic surge in travel demand.

September 11, 2020
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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 .