The government of the United States has received thorough praise from all corners of the travel industry following a formal announcement of its decision to begin the travel and tourism recovery following the damage caused by the Covid pandemic.
Last month, at the end of December 2022, the US government finally declared the start of a formal process to kickstart the travel and tourism recovery journey, a move that has caused excitement for many travellers and travel businesses. The US provides a huge travel and tourism market for UK travellers and some specialists, many of whom have been waiting patiently for the US to make its bigger comeback from the effects of the Covid pandemic, though some small efforts had been made in the past couple of years.
A new bill was established to provide an assistant secretary for travel and tourism and its recovery. This assistant secretary will be responsible for devising a strategy that will help the US travel and tourism industry in its recovery from the impact of the Covid pandemic. This will put in place a role that will provide more focus towards the recovery of the travel industry following Covid, giving the industry a great boost.
This was declared the Travel and Tourism Act and on top of the new assistant secretary role, the Act provides the authority needed for the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to assist with the travel and tourism recovery that is to come in 2023. Alongside this, there was established a joint federal task force that will address health, safety, security, and other ‘logistical’ issues that affected air travel during the pandemic and still affect air travel after the pandemic. A committee will be made up of representatives of aviation to advise this task force.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also been given the option to create a pilot programme within up to 6 foreign airports that allow travellers to skip domestic security re-screening at their connecting airport in the United States. The final step for the Travel and Tourism Act is currently awaiting the signature of the US President, Joe Biden.
Geoff Freeman, the US Travel Association chief executive, said, “This is a tremendous win for travellers, the travel industry and America’s economy. The idea to create a presidentially appointed, US Senate-confirmed position to lead federal travel policy has been around for decades.
“Thanks to a bipartisan and bicameral group of congressional leaders, the United States will now join all G20 countries with a senior federal official focused on travel.
“The assistant secretary will play an important role as we partner with government to lower visitor visa wait times, modernise security screening and leverage new technologies to make travel more seamless and secure.”
The Global Business Travel Association also commented on this Act and stated that it saw the bill as a great ‘positive step’ towards the restoration of global corporate travel and meetings within the US and internationally.
Suzanne Neufang, the chief executive of the Global Business Travel Association, said, “Inclusion of these items is a great step forward in government and business working together. It will help ensure we continue to get back to business travel, one of the important drivers for keeping economies moving around the world. Face-to-face business meetings are instrumental in driving job creation, fostering team productivity, increasing corporate revenues, and facilitating expansion efforts.”
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