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U.S. Travel's 2015 Priorities

January 22, 2015

The New Year is off to a fast start following a momentous past 12 months. Roger Dow, President/CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, has outlined some critical priorities that will fill the agenda.
In 2015, our major initiatives will be guided by U.S. Travel's new strategic plan. We are proud to share this with you and believe it provides a strong foundation for the work we will do together over the coming years. Key priorities include:

  • We will continue to advocate for Visa Waiver Program protection and expansion in the new Congress. The program benefits not only travelers, but also our national security since it is a vital tool for counterterrorism efforts. Expanding travel and enhancing security go together; they are not mutually exclusive goals.
  • Domestic and international travel facilitation will, of course, remain a core focus for our organization this year. We are encouraged by the steady and deliberate pace at which the Department of Homeland Security has moved to expand programs such as Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. But much more needs to be done—particularly when it comes to continuing improvements to the Customs process. Rest assured, we will continue to encourage DHS to implement smart, sensible and fully secure solutions that improve the travel experience.
  • Travel infrastructure and airport modernization will be a top U.S. Travel priority this year, with the reauthorization of both the Federal Aviation Administration and surface transportation on Congress' agenda. Improving travel infrastructure around the country and promoting much-needed investment in our airports will be the central focus of our work. Travel businesses need long-term funding solutions from Washington to achieve long-term growth and global competitiveness. Increasing travel will benefit the entire U.S. economy—a message we constantly reinforce on Capitol Hill. We will also sustain and expand our efforts outside Washington.
  • We will continue to serve as a convener of the travel community through world-class events, such as IPW, ESTO, and Destination Capitol Hill. Recent research has discovered that our annual IPW, for instance, delivers a bigger impact to its host community than the Super Bowl. We are all looking forward to this year's event in Orlando.
  • Our groundbreaking Travel Effect research has already garnered massive media attention. In fact, it has sparked a national conversation around the problem of unused paid time off in the U.S. and travel's positive impact on personal well-being and overall business performance. We will continue this exciting initiative that we believe will ultimately help expand the leisure travel market and benefit Americans and communities nationwide.
  • Our work requires the collective effort of all our members but begins with strong leadership. We salute Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels and Resorts, who served as U.S. Travel's National Chair in 2013-14 and helped lead our many accomplishments. In 2015, we welcome Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, as our new Chair-Elect. He is a highly respected leader with a strong vision for U.S. Travel's role as the voice for travel.
With such an ambitious agenda, we know that we cannot succeed without your steady support and engagement. To that end, we look forward to working with you on these and other initiatives during what I know will be a great year for our industry.

What's Happening
The Oklahoma Conference on Tourism is an annual event that helps Oklahoma's tourism industry work together to grow our attractions and communities. The Oklahoma Conference on Tourism is held in conjunction with the RedBud Awards.
As you may be aware, the White House released its much-anticipated infrastructure proposal on February 12, which sets the stage for action on Capitol Hill. Improving and modernizing our nation's travel infrastructure is a long-held priority that U.S. Travel shares with many elected officials. A summary of the administration's proposal is available here, and an outline of several travel-related provisions can be found here.
The hospitality industry is the driving force in Oklahoma’s economy, generating enormous tax revenues, providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, and giving time and money back to their communities. OTIA members recently visited with legislators to show them the economic impact our industry has on the state and distributed an Oklahoma Hospitality Industry "At a Glance" leave-behind.
America’s travel industry remains strong and poised for growth in 2018. In this video message, U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow reflects on last year's successes and challenges and looks forward to key opportunities ahead.

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