According to Gina Raimondo, the secretary of the US Department of Commerce, who spoke on a virtual session hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the US Department of Commerce will shortly announce a $750 million investment in travel and tourism (AHLA).
Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA, which promotes foreign tourism to the United States, also spoke at the session, stating that the agency aims to launch its first marketing campaign since the pandemic began starting on Aug. 1 with the message that the country is ready for visitors.
Raimondo expressed optimism for a good summer for leisure travel, but cautioned that “there’s a long way to go.” She wants the federal funds to be utilised flexibly since “tourism is local and has local requirements,” with some states spending it on convention centres, while others spend it on recreation, and still others on marketing.
The secretary also stated that the administration is working tirelessly to have Congress pass the American Jobs Plan, which she described as “extremely relevant” to travel because it addresses infrastructure, jobs, training, parks, and clean water, all of which are important to travel.
Raimondo stated, “I look forward to working with the industry.” “I am confident that the future of leisure and business travel will be brighter.”
In terms of business travel, Raimondo stated that she is doing everything she can as an advocate to ensure that major travel corridors remain open to business travellers. There are safe ways to travel, she noted, especially for people who have been vaccinated.
“I will do everything I can,” she said, “to revitalize domestic and international business travel through agencies that report to me.” She claims that reducing travel restrictions is a major priority for her and the administration, and that “we are collaborating across the government to do everything we can to ease travel restrictions safely.”
Thompson said he is more positive than he has been since the outbreak began, and that “certain discussions I have had” have encouraged him. While he acknowledged that many of the limits on international travel to the United States are beyond Brand USA’s control, he noted that “things are happening.”
“As international visitors see us traveling, “ he said, “they will see that it is safe to do so.” He believes it is vital to open the land borders to Mexico and Canada since they account for half of the 80 million yearly international visitors to the United States, while the United Kingdom is the greatest long-haul market.
“Something that can happen now,” he added, Brand USA will invite influencers from around the world to come in and experience the United States. “We want to foster aspiration and dreams,” he continued. Thompson claims that the domestic return to travel has been stronger than predicted, and that he expects the same for foreign travel once it returns.
Smaller groups are returning, he added, and many large shows are going live, including Brand USA Travel Week, which will take place in London in October, and the US Travel Association’s IPW, which will take place in Las Vegas in September.