The US travel sector has gained heightened recognition in Washington to hep aid recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
The role of assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism is now likely to be created by the Biden administration.
The development came as a bill – the Visit America Act – won overwhelming support from a key committee on Capitol Hill.
A call has now gone out for the US Commerce Department to develop a ten-year travel and tourism strategy.
The assistant secretary’s responsibilities will include setting an annual goal for the number of international visitors to the US, provide support for improved visitor visa processing and promoting travel exports abroad.
The Visit America Act also calls for a Covid-19 pandemic recovery strategy to be created to assist the recovery of the US travel and tourism industry from travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
The bill also provides statutory authority for the US travel and tourism advisory board to aid the assistant secretary in developing and implementing the pandemic recovery strategy.
Tori Emerson Barnes, US Travel Association public affairs and policy executive vice president, said: “We deeply appreciate the support of the House energy and commerce committee, which unanimously advanced the Visit America Act bill today.
“Measures contained in this legislation – including the creation of an assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism – will ensure travel issues receive a higher level of focused energy and private-sector collaboration and help the United States compete for valuable international conferences and events.
“As travel and tourism rebounds, this common-sense legislation will assure the federal government focuses on policies that support sustained recovery and the future competitiveness of our industry.
“We encourage Congress to enact these measures this year.”