Travel Leaders Lobby Feds on Fast Track, Airport Tax

Capitol Hill

The nation's capital was teeming with travel industry leaders this week as representatives from two industry groups -- the U.S. Travel Association and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) -- lobbied federal officials on issues of import to travel and tourism.

On Wednesday, eight U.S. Travel Association members attended a meeting at the White House with Obama administration officials to discuss the proposed "Trade Promotion Authority" (TPA) bill currently under consideration in Congress. Also known as "Fast Track," the bill would expedite the president's ability to form new international trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed treaty to enhance trade between the United States and 11 other Pacific nations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

"We are grateful travel leaders from across the country have a seat at the table in discussing the unquestionable value expanded trade brings to the U.S. economy and to their local communities and businesses," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "We support the administration's efforts to move the TPA forward, and encourage both chambers of Congress to pass the measure without delay. Sound trade agreements have profoundly benefited the national economy, helping generate $222 billion in travel exports in 2014 alone. Supporting and expanding such agreements with such evident economic benefits seems a no-brainer."

Meanwhile, members of GBTA met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday for the 13th annual GBTA Legislative Symposium. During back-to-back discussions with senators and representatives -- including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), among others -- they discussed their opposition to a proposed increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC), or airport tax, as well as their support for ending the practice of "managed inclusion" in TSA PreCheck lanes.

"With U.S. business travel spending expected to reach $295.7 billion in 2015, it's clear that business travel is critical to today's economy. We need the Obama Administration and lawmakers to adopt policies that support our business travelers and help our industry grow," said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. "I'm pleased to see so many members flying in to D.C. to advocate for our industry and share their stories with their elected representatives."

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