The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, issued the following statement in advance of today’s Senate Tourism, Competitiveness, and Innovation Subcommittee hearing on “The State of U.S. Travel and Tourism: Industry Efforts to Attract 100 Million Visitors Annually”:
“A strong travel and tourism sector in this country has been crucial to the economic recovery of the past several years, and its continued strength and growth is a top objective of the U.S. lodging industry,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president/CEO. “In addition to being a top service export in 48 of 50 states and the generator of billions of dollars in annual revenue, travel and tourism is a key component to the lodging industry’s continued economic growth and ability to create jobs. We thank Chairman Schatz for convening this timely hearing and urge members of the Senate to use this important conversation as the springboard to act on a number of pending bills crucial to the sustainability of the sector.”
Supporting and promoting the travel and tourism sector is one of the top advocacy priorities of the U.S. hotel industry in 2014. Specifically, AH&LA and its members are actively working for:
• Congressional passage of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which would establish a pilot program for the use of secure videoconferencing for visa processing, and reduce visa wait times;
• Improved access to the U.S. for international travelers, a better travel experience through expansion of the Visa Waiver Program, and an improved, streamlined arrival process; and
• Reauthorization of Brand USA, an important ally of the travel industry in maximizing the economic and social benefits of travel to this country.
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.