US Travel visits Capitol Hill March 2024

Travel Advocates Unite for Economic Growth and Job Creation on Capitol Hill

Hundreds of travel industry professionals from every U.S. state, along with representatives from Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, convened on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Travel Association’s Destination Capitol Hill event on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The annual legislative fly-in highlighted the travel sector’s crucial role in the American economy and workforce development.

Participants engaged in over 300 discussions with leading policymakers, focusing on enhancing the United States’ position in the global travel market. These meetings aimed to foster economic advancement and job creation across the country.

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said, “This year’s Destination Capitol Hill is all about setting the groundwork for a more globally competitive future for travel. The annual event is a significant opportunity to unite the travel industry—from all 50 states—to speak with lawmakers on issues that are vital to our long-term success and growth.”

U.S. Travel’s Destination Capitol Hill 2024 event
U.S. Travel’s Destination Capitol Hill program

Top legislative priorities:

Travel advocates shared four key requests in meetings with policymakers:

  1. Lower visitor visa wait times, which average 400 days for top source markets
  2. Lower customs wait times, which can reach up to two hours at peak times at major U.S. airports
  3. Fully fund the office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism for FY 2025
  4. Advance the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill

New travel impact data:

Delegates were armed with new data on the travel industry’s essential contributions to the U.S. economy and workforce.

  • Travel accounted for $1.3 trillion in direct spending in 2023, which produced an economic footprint of $2.8 trillion.
  • In 2023, travel supported more than 15 million American workers—8 million directly employed by the travel industry.
  • Travel spending generated nearly $165 billion in total tax revenue, including $89 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2023.
  • Travel-generated tax revenue alleviated an average of $1,273 in taxes per U.S. household.

During the fly-in event, U.S. Travel awarded Chairman Sam Graves and Ranking Member Rick Larsen —both serving on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure—with the association’s Legislator of the Year award.

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