Travel advocates share new trillion-dollar impact figures with policymakers


 Travel’s essential contributions to U.S. economy, opportunities to grow travel are front and center at legislative fly-in.

WASHINGTON – At $1.2 trillion, direct spending on travel in the United States in 2022 was on par with pre-pandemic figures, according to new data released by the U.S. Travel Association—reflecting the industry’s essential contributions to the American economy.

“Travel rebounded strongly in 2022 thanks to robust demand for domestic leisure travel,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “Now we must focus on fully restoring the international and business travel segments to continue growing this critical driver of the U.S. economy.”

Key points:

Travel accounted for $1.2 trillion in direct spending in 2022, which produced an economic footprint of $2.6 trillion.

In 2022, travel supported nearly 15 million American workers—8 million directly employed by the travel industry.

Travel spending generated nearly $160 billion in total tax revenue, including $84 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2022.

Travel-generated tax revenue alleviated an average of $1,270 in taxes per U.S. household.

U.S. Travel economists cautioned, though, that when adjusting for inflation, overall travel spending remained down 14% in 2022.

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Telling Travel’s Story in Washington

On Wednesday, nearly 250 travel industry leaders from U.S. Travel member organizations elevated the industry’s essential contributions to federal policymakers during the association’s annual legislative fly-in, Destination Capitol Hill.

Delegate meetings were scheduled with 230 members of Congress and their offices to discuss how travel drives economic growth and creates jobs within their respective communities, as well as legislative priorities to grow all sectors of the U.S. travel industry.

Top legislative priorities:

Fully fund the office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism.

Lower visitor visa wait times.

Provide H-2B cap relief to address travel workforce shortfalls.

Advance Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization priorities.

“Travel’s success is the nation’s success—these priorities are not just important to our industry, but to the future of the U.S. economy,” added Freeman.

U.S. Travel Names Rosen, Sullivan and Raimondo as 2023 Travel Champions

Also, U.S. Travel Association announced recipients of its 2023 Travel Champion award: U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

“Travel performs at its best when the private sector and the government work together to achieve common goals, and Senators Rosen and Sullivan and Secretary Raimondo each are credited with tremendous contributions towards this industry’s success,” said Geoff Freeman. “Each of our honorees has shown consistent dedication to helping travel grow and thrive.”

Travel is an essential contributor to the U.S. economy, supporting nearly 15 million American jobs and generating $2.6 trillion in total economic impact that benefits communities across the country.

The Travel Champion honor recognizes exceptional leadership in advancing and protecting policies that strengthen travel to and within the United States. The awards were presented this week in conjunction with the association’s Destination Capitol Hill event.

Senator Jacky Rosen: As chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion, Senator Rosen has increased Congressional action on policies that grow and facilitate travel. Senator Rosen played a pivotal role in the enactment of her bipartisan Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act, which established an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism and created the One-Stop Security pilot program. She also advanced top industry priorities, including passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act, establishing a Chief Travel and Tourism Officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation and increasing federal investments in travel infrastructure.

Senator Dan Sullivan: Senator Sullivan introduced the Visit America Act and was a lead cosponsor of the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act in the Senate, which established an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism within the U.S. Department of Commerce. This critical new position will lead federal policies to grow and facilitate international and domestic travel and serve as a key federal liaison to the industry. Senator Sullivan has also been an active leader in efforts to reduce U.S. visitor visa wait times and provide emergency funding for Brand USA.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo: From her earliest days leading the Commerce Department, Secretary Raimondo engaged the travel industry, sought the input of travel leaders and remains a key voice within the Biden Administration on the economic importance of travel and tourism. The Secretary was instrumental in reopening U.S. borders to international travelers after the COVID-19 health crisis and also championed a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy, including a visitation and spending goal, in consultation with the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

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