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. In 2021, the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics recognized Barnes as a Top Lobbyist. She was also 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.

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By Tori Emerson Barnes
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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...

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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.

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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. 

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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 .

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
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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.