USTA: Visit America Act will help U.S. draw international conferences and events

The House Energy and Commerce Committee cleared the Visit America Act this week

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The Visit America Act seeks to strengthen domestic tourism by creating a new role in the Department of Commerce, and to elevate the attention and coordination paid to the tourism industry, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

THE HOUSE ENERGY and Commerce Committee approved the Visit America Act on Sept. 21 by a vote of 56 to 0. The U.S. Travel Association the bill will ensure travel issues receive a higher level of focus and private-sector collaboration.

The move will help the U.S. to compete for valuable international conferences and events, USTA said in a statement. The Visit America Act seeks to strengthen domestic tourism by creating a new role in the Department of Commerce, the assistant secretary for travel and tourism, to elevate the attention and coordination paid to the tourism industry. Further, the bill sets visitation goals, requires whole-of-government strategies to ensure the visitation goals are met, and interagency coordination to support U.S. tourism.

“We deeply appreciate the support of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which unanimously advanced the Visit America Act bill today,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, USTA’s executive vice president of public affairs and policy. “Measures contained in this legislation will ensure travel issues receive a higher level of focused energy and private-sector collaboration and help the U.S. compete for valuable international conferences and events.”

According to Barnes, the legislation will assure the federal government focuses on policies that support sustained recovery and the future competitiveness of the hospitality industry.

USTA thanked Reps. Titus and Case for sponsoring the Act, and extended appreciation to chairman Pallone, Rep. McMorris Rodgers and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their support.

“We also thank Reps. Soto and Dunn for their work on the Travel and Tourism Act, a bill whose measures were included in the Visit America Act. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved S. 3375, the ‘Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021,’ which includes the Visit America Act and several other policies that support travel’s recovery. We encourage Congress to enact these measures this year,” Barnes added.

Recently, USTA predicted that it may take until 2025 for international inbound travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels.