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 regarding President Obama’s speech today at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, highlighting the positive impact of travel and tourism as a domestic economic driver:
“We commend President Obama for renewing his commitment to travel and tourism two years after releasing the National Travel and Tourism Strategy which seeks to bring 100 million international visitors a year to the United States. Our nation, and the hotel industry, have so much to offer, from picturesque inns in quaint New England towns, to slope-side hotels of Rocky Mountain ski areas, to beachfront resorts of the Gulf Coast. And when foreign visitors stay in our hotels they spend money in the communities, creating jobs and sparking economic growth,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president/CEO. “The good news is that Congress can take important steps this year to attract travelers from around the globe by reauthorizing BrandUSA, the nation’s public-private marketing entity, and passing the JOLT Act, to reduce visa processing times and limit the hurdles facing those foreign visitors.”
The hospitality industry, and travel and tourism more broadly, are crucial components of the nation’s economic recovery and provide millions of jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas. Foreign visitors are vital customers to the hotel industry, and in 2013 roughly 70 million international travelers came to the U.S., up from 55 million in just four years earlier. On average, each international visitor spends $4,500, benefitting not just hotels, but restaurants, retail stores and other businesses in the community. In total, travel and tourism account for almost 30% of all U.S. service exports.
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.