AH&LA partners to launch travel coalition

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) along with U.S. Travel Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Retail Federation today announced the Discover America Partnership, a broad coalition of trade associations, corporate interests, organized labor, and various groups that understand the importance of international travel to the United States economy.

The Discover America Partnership is a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms in order to regain the share of the international traveler market the United States held in 2000. Globally, international travel is up, but the United States is not reaping the full benefits. America’s visa policies have deterred visitors – so while the number of global long-haul travelers increased by 61 million travelers from 2000 to 2010, the number of visitors to the United States has stayed flat.

The coalition aims to correct this trend by educating policymakers and opinion leaders on the economic significance of tourism and business travel to the United States; highlighting barriers that prevent the United States from maximizing its potential in the global travel market; and presenting high-impact solutions with low or no cost that will enable the United States to create hundreds of thousands of sustainable American jobs.

“President Obama established a goal of doubling exports by 2015 and encouraging international travel to the U.S. remains one of the best ways to achieve this target,” said AH&LA President & CEO Joe McInerney. “Bringing international travelers will create jobs, generate revenue, and showcase the United States to visitors. This is a bipartisan, low cost issue that will benefit every community across America.”

The coalition will leverage existing assets of each partner to maximize resources. The Discover America Partnership will mount an aggressive advocacy campaign with Congress and the Administration that will include meetings, briefings, and hearings.

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In addition to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Discover America Partnership is led by the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Retail Federation. Carlson, Choice Hotels, Hilton Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Loews Hotels, Marriott International, and Starwood Hotels are members of the steering committee.