The United States Congress has heard testimony on the importance of infrastructure and brand USA to travel recovery. With a current workforce shortage, the US needs to focus on building up its tourism industry in order to continue economic growth.
The hospitality and commerce job recovery act of 2021 is a bill that was proposed on January 3, 2019. It will be considered by the U.S. Congress in the coming months.
A hearing on “Legislative Solutions to Revive Travel and Tourism and Create Jobs” was conducted by the Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion, which featured testimony on the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021.
The hearing featured a panel of leading travel and tourism industry experts, including Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy, US Travel Association; Christopher Bidwell, Senior Vice President of Security, Airports Council International–North America; and Chirag Shah, Senior Vice President of Federal Affair, Airports Council International–North America.
Rosen opened the hearing by emphasizing the industry’s current positive developments, such as the administration’s decision to allow U.S. travel to individuals who have been properly vaccinated.
“It’s simply another indication that the business is slowly but steadily rebounding,” Rosen said. “Consumers are once again planning leisure travel,” says the report.
Rosen spoke on the Paycheck Protection Program and the Shuttered Venues Operator Grant, both of which are aimed at assisting the travel and tourist sector in its recovery. She also said that the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act will go a long way toward assisting the sector in not just recovering but also thriving in the future. She cited the planned appointment of an assistant secretary in the Department of Commerce to concentrate on travel and tourism, as well as increased investment in Brand USA, as an example.
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Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who is also a member of the committee, emphasized the significance of the country’s travel and tourism sector.
Emerson Barnes of U.S. Travel outlined three ways Congress could start to restart travel by providing continued economic relief for impacted travel businesses, enacting stimulus measures to spur travel demand and accelerate rehiring, such as the Hospitality and Commerce Jobs Recovery Act (S. 477) and the Restoring Brand USA Act (S. 2424), and making long-term investments to build a tourism infrastructure.
Other panelists generally agreed with these methods.
Congress has the power to hasten the safe resumption of travel. 1. Persistent alleviation 2. Demand-inducing stimulus 3. Make an investment
In her testimony, GBTA’s Neufang emphasized the importance of foreign businesses knowing that coming to the United States is secure, and she pushed for the Visit America program. In the present pandemic environment, she also highlighted the need to speed visas to the nation as well as passport services, which are taking months rather than weeks to complete.
Business travel, according to Neufang, will take a long time to make a return.
“As we move forward, the corporate travel sector is currently rebounding and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future,” Neufang added. “That is why collaboration between government and industry is critical to ending the epidemic and increasing vaccination rates.”
International Airports Council Security Bidwell emphasized the need of unlocking US borders. He also advocated for infrastructure and job creation.
“Once international travel begins, Congress must guarantee that enough CBP agents, TSA personnel, and technology are in place to keep security checkpoints and government inspection stations open, functioning, and secure,” he added. “Long passenger lines lead to security risks connected with big numbers of people congregating in public places.” Furthermore, checked luggage may be misplaced, resulting in travelers missing their scheduled flights.
Bidwell also applauded the omnibus bill’s inclusion of provisions for the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last year. This provision, as well as the TSA pilot program for one-stop security, are highly supported by ACI-NA. International passengers would be able to check their baggage all the way to their ultimate destination without needing to collect it before their domestic connections under this scheme.
Bidwell also endorsed the concept of appointing individuals from the Departments of Commerce and Transportation to coordinate and push for measures that would increase travel and tourist possibilities.
Shah of the AHLA echoed his colleagues’ support for the Visit America Act’s inclusion in the omnibus measure.
On Capitol Hill, Chirag Shah of the American Hotel and Lodging Association spoke.
“Visit America strengthens the national travel and tourism strategy by directing the Commerce Department to submit a 10-year growth plan, in collaboration with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and Tourism Policy Counsel, to establish objectives and resources needed to accomplish them,” he added. The strategy would take into account not just suggestions for recovering from COVID-19, but also a long-term vision for the sector’s ongoing economic growth.”
He also emphasized the importance of the Save Hotel Jobs Act to the hospitality sector.
“The Save Hotel Jobs Act would provide a lifeline for our struggling industry by giving payroll and benefits support to our workers until hotel visitors return and the tourism sector starts to recover more evenly,” he added. The law offers subsidies to hotels that can show a drop in gross revenues of at least 40% in 2020 as compared to the same time in 2019. All grant money must be utilized only for payroll and benefits, which includes salaries, leave, healthcare plan costs, retirement, and payroll taxes.”
Shah also suggested that Congress approve the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, which he claims would assist restart the sector by providing tax incentives to companies that book and organize conferences, trade fairs, and big group events.
The senate transportation committee chair was the first witness to testify at a congressional hearing on infrastructure and Brand USA.
- senate commerce committee
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- h.r. 1346
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