Earlier this month, IITA participated as an Industry Partner in the travel industry’s premier legislative fly-in event. More than 300 attendees from 40 states participated in 295 Congressional appointments (which is more than half of Congress!). Key issues discussed with Members of Congress included the importance of the Visa Waiver Program, the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act and modernization of America’s air travel system.
Members of Congress were urged to remember the importance of the travel industry to the creation of jobs and the nation’s economy, particularly when making quick decisions about security, health and budgetary issues. Travel often inadvertently suffers in the aftermath of rapid decision, which in turn negatively impacts our nation’s economy.
While representatives from many IITA members were there, international inbound tour operators were not well-represented. We urge all IITA members to participate to stay in contact with their congressional leaders so they hear directly from you about the issues impacting your business. Put next year’s event on your calendar now – Destination Capitol Hill 2017: March 28-29.
During the event, US Travel presented the Distinguished Travel Ally Award to Julie Heizer, Deputy Director of Industry Relations, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office. Other Travel Champion Awards were presented to Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan.