In advance of last Thursday's White House Jobs Summit, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) sent open letters to the president and Congress urging them to utilize travel as a vehicle for job creation, it announced last week.
The jobs summit, which took place on Dec. 3—just a week after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a national unemployment rate of 10.2 percent—was hosted by President Barack Obama and attended by 135 leaders from every sector of the economy, including government, labor, academia, nonprofit and business. Its goal, according to the president, was to generate "specific recommendations" that can be implemented to stimulate job growth "as quickly as possible."
In the USTA's open letter—sent to President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell— USTA President and CEO Roger Dow presented the following "immediate impact job proposals" for consideration by government leaders:
1. Travel tax deduction for business travel with a spouse;
2. Business meal tax deduction;
3. Implementation of the Travel Promotion Act to encourage millions of travelers to visit the United States;
4. Targeted hiring of new consular officers for key inbound markets with unmet demand;
5. Increased investment in the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009;
6. Funding for a "NextGen" air traffic control system that will limit flight delays, cancellations and negative impact on the environment; and
7. Airport construction funding for U.S. ports of entry.
"We urge the president and Congress to work together to unlock the power of the travel community to put Americans back to work with tax incentives for job-creating travel, targeted efforts to promote international travel and government funding to remove roadblocks to an efficient travel infrastructure," Dow said in the USTA letters. "There's no doubt that if we can stimulate travel, this industry can help to turn the economy around."
To read USTA's letters in their entirety, download a PDF of them from the USTA Web site