USCM President Palmer Says Travel Partnership with Mayors Powerful
By Tom McClimon
October 8, 2007
Declaring there is a “powerful partnership” between the mayors and the travel industry, Conference of Mayors President Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer addressed the opening session of the second annual Travel Leadership Summit, held September 26-27, in Washington (DC). The Summit was sponsored by the Travel Industry Association and the Travel Business Roundtable, of which the Conference of Mayors is a member.
Gathering on Capitol Hill were hundreds of travel industry leaders from across the United States. They met with Congressional lawmakers to take action on several travel-related priority issues that include: the creation of an international travel promotion program to encourage overseas travel to the United States; appropriate implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative; and increased funding for the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
“Mayors already understand what international travel and tourism means to our cities,” declared Palmer at the opening session. “Our job now is to make the federal government embrace the important economic engine and public diplomacy tool we have in travel. We stand ready to work with the travel industry to make travel the national priority it should be.”
Palmer also mentioned that travel promotion was recently added to the Conference of Mayors 10-point action plan, “Strong Cities, Strong Families for a Strong America.” The action plan now states, “The nation’s mayors call for travel and tourism to be a national policy priority. We must enhance national security, while at the same time, increasing international travel to the U.S. through visa reforms, entry improvements and promotion.”
Congressional Travel Promotion Letter
In conjunction with the Travel Leadership Summit, the Conference of Mayors sent a letter to members of Congress in support for the adoption of the Travel Promotion Act of 2007. Signed by Palmer, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, and Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran, the Conference lent its support in establishing a “sustainable and sustainable” international marketing campaign to promote America.
The U.S. travel and tourism industry generates over 7.5 million jobs, and is responsible for over $177 billion in payroll, and contributes over $100 billion in tax revenues. Overseas travel to the United States has fallen 17 percent since 2000 with a cumulative cost of more than $100 billion in lost visitor spending, almost 200,000 jobs and $16 billion in lost tax receipts. Travel to the top 15 cities has declined by over 20 percent.