national travel tourism week2018National Travel and Tourism Week 2018 (NTTW) kicked off on Sunday, with hundreds of events planned by cities and destinations across the country. New York City’s Empire State Building will light up in red—the official color of the travel industry— on May 8 in celebration of Travel Rally Day.

This year’s theme, “Travel Then and Now,” recognizes the accomplishments of the industry over the past decades, while also serving as an opportunity to highlight the principle at the heart of the U.S. travel industry: America’s welcoming spirit toward visitors from around the world.

NTTW—established by Congress in 1983—focuses national attention on the value that travel holds for our economy, businesses and well-being.

The U.S. Travel Association will be hosting its first-ever Social Travel Rally on May 8. Destinations and businesses are encouraged to share a message of welcome to international travelers with the hashtag #TravelsWelcome. The NTTW interactive event map allows participants to see events that are going on in their communities and around the country.

And once again, U.S. Travel partnered with its ambassador, travel expert and Places to Love host Samantha Brown, to shine a spotlight on the impact that travel has had on our country over the past decades.

“The travel industry has changed a great deal over the years—for the better,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “Trip planning has greatly evolved where we're well beyond the days when every car would have a map folded up in the glove box.

“But the impact that travel has on our economy and our lives is timeless. Throughout the decades, the travel industry has been a jobs creator that today provides a livelihood to one of every nine Americans. And in the words of President Reagan when he signed the proclamation establishing NTTW, I believe that ‘the golden years of tourism are yet to come.’”

In 2017, traveler spending in the U.S. generated more than $2.4 trillion in economic output. Travel now supports 15.6 million jobs, with 8.8 million jobs in the industry itself and 6.8 million across other sectors of the economy. Follow #nttw18 and #TravelsWelcome on social media to get live updates on the week’s highlights, and visit USTravel.org/nttw to learn more about NTTW.