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US Journey Affiliation Delivers State of the Journey Business Handle

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Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Journey Affiliation, in his annual State of the Journey Business speech, referred to as for aggressive authorities initiatives to create journey’s “Subsequent Nice Chapter” via large federal funding and different initiatives. He delivered the speech in a stay webcast from the Nationwide Press Membership in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

Dow mentioned that since March the business has suffered greater than $500 billion in pandemic associated losses and journey business unemployment climbed to 51% – greater than double the nationwide fee on the peak of the Nice Despair.

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U.S. Journey, mentioned Dow, has been working with President Biden’s administration on insurance policies that may be adopted in his first 100 days to jump-start journey and increase the economic system.

He mentioned this implies: first getting a deal with on the virus via vaccines and well being and security practices; second, establishing a nationwide plan to construct confidence in home journey via clear public well being steerage and boosting journey demand with aggressive financial stimulus measures; and third, safely reopening worldwide journey via risk-based COVID-19 testing protocols and eradicating worldwide journey bans.

In reply to media questions after his speech, Dow mentioned U.S. Journey is against testing for COVID-19 passengers on home flights however in favor of it for worldwide routes. He mentioned the affiliation can also be against quarantines as a result of they’re “disruptive” and tough to implement. Dow mentioned {that a} layered method that features well being and security protocols and testing would work higher than quarantines. ”I’d not go wherever,” mentioned Dow, “if I needed to sit in a lodge room for 14 days.”

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Whereas some predict that the restoration of journey will take 5 years, Dow mentioned that was “far too lengthy” and that implementing advisable insurance policies would dramatically shorten that interval. He mentioned the nation wants to verify all journey companies—inns, airways, sights, theme parks, rental automotive firms, cruise traces, impartial tour operators, journey businesses and so many others—can maintain themselves via this disaster.

Dow mentioned the U.S. ought to set a nationwide aim of welcoming 116 million worldwide guests yearly by 2028 and reestablish this nation as probably the most welcoming on the earth. The U.S. welcomed 79 million worldwide guests in 2019, which plummeted to 19 million in 2020 (virtually all within the first quarter of the yr) and that quantity is projected to be 33 million this yr. Dow additionally advised the media that the world had witnessed the assault on the Capitol and that solely by welcoming worldwide guests may the U.S. exhibit to them that this can be a protected nation.

U.S. Journey, mentioned Dow, is looking on the federal authorities to take a position $550 billion in highways, transit programs, passenger rail and airports over the following 5 years. He mentioned the nation should additionally prioritize funding for nationwide parks to allow them to proceed to deal with their deferred upkeep tasks and welcome guests in a sustainable method. However he mentioned the nation “must dream larger” — to look past present programs and put money into new modes of transportation.

Dow referred to as on the federal government to supply insurance policies and incentives to soundly carry again conferences and occasions, saying whereas “we’re all grateful for Zoom,” it’s no substitute for in-person conferences. He referred to as on the federal government to prioritize infrastructure, saying that even earlier than the pandemic, the nation’s ageing, underperforming infrastructure made it more and more tough to get round.

The nation should additionally look past its borders and enhance its international competitiveness, mentioned Dow. To assist develop a coherent, government-wide technique to spice up journey exports, mentioned Dow, U.S. Journey has referred to as on the Biden administration to ascertain a brand new Assistant Secretary for Journey and Tourism throughout the Division of Commerce. In 2019, journey was America’s second-largest business export, accounting for 10 p.c of all U.S. exports of products and providers.

San Luis Obispo, California
PHOTO: Mountaineering in San Luis Obispo, California. (photograph courtesy Metropolis of San Luis Obispo Tourism)

To turn into a real international chief, mentioned Dow, America should even be considered as a welcoming nation. That is why the mission of Model USA, he mentioned, is extra necessary than ever. Given the collapse in worldwide inbound journey—this system’s predominant supply of public income—U.S. Journey is asking the federal authorities for the continued assist and safety of Model USA so it might hold selling the U.S. to guests all over the world.

The nation also needs to seize this chance, mentioned Dow, to reimagine a stronger, extra modern air journey ecosystem. One necessary option to strengthen air journey, he mentioned, is to speed up the implementation of biometric know-how. Biometric identification offers quicker facilitation, higher accuracy and a safer journey setting. These touchless programs, he mentioned, additionally create a extra handy, hygienic person expertise – an necessary consider coping with the present public well being disaster.

U.S. Journey, mentioned Dow, is looking on the federal authorities to broaden biometric exit programs at the moment working at 20 airports and 7 seaports. People ought to have the choice to take part voluntarily, giving residents the selection to choose out of biometric screenings for any cause. He mentioned there should even be continued enchancment of the REAL ID Act. In line with the Division of Homeland Safety, solely 38 p.c of People are REAL ID-compliant. Enforcement is about to start on Oct. 1, however the pandemic has made it more durable to get to motorcar company workplaces.

Lastly, the U.S. should improve its journey facilitation packages, Dow mentioned, noting {that a} extra streamlined method to journey facilitation shall be essential to dealing with the approaching resurgence in journey demand. He mentioned TSA Precheck, World Entry, Sentri and Nexus must be consolidated into one program. He additionally mentioned World Entry and preclearance places must be expanded to Visa Waiver Program international locations, and the U.S. ought to expedite visas for low-risk candidates and automate non-immigrant visa purposes.

Recalling the business’s “Comeback Decade” in the course of the 2010s following the crises of 9/11 and the Nice Recession, Dow mentioned journey’s subsequent chapter shall be “fueled by the power of the exceptional women and men who contribute a lot to this business.”

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