Skift Take

The federal tourism official idea is wedded to the national tourism strategy. There can't be one without the other.

The idea of creating a an assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism continues to gain traction among legislators. U.S. senators brought up the idea this week at a Commerce Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Commerce Department’s 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which was published in June last year.

The idea for the position has repeatedly come up as necessary for the strategy’s implementation and coordination. Under the strategy, Commerce aims to promote the U.S. as a destination, facilitate travel to and within the U.S., drive tourism to underserved and underrepresented communities and foster sustainable tourism

The United States is the only member of the G20 that does not have a high-ranking government official focused on the tourism sector.

Bipartisan support for the position’s creation was reiterated at the subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. At the hearing, Senator Dan Sullivan(R-Alaska), Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), chair of the subcommittee, expressed support for the creation of the position.

“In today’s political environment, there aren’t many topics where Democrats and Republicans agree, but this is one where that seems to have bipartisan support within the subcommittee” said Discover Puerto Rico President and CEO Brad Dean, who provided testimony at the hearing.

Most recently, the Senate advanced legislation that includes a provision for the creation of the position. Another bill with a similar provision is currently being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Travel Association, the trade group representing the travel industry, has expressed support for both.

Tags: coronavirus recovery, destination marketing, government, tourism, U.S. Department of Commerce

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