If Congress doesn't allocate money to the assistant secretary for travel and tourism office, it's in effect rendering the position useless to the industry.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is ready to staff the office for the newly-created assistant secretary for travel and tourism. It just needs the money from Congress to do it, said Brian Beall, acting deputy assistant secretary for travel and tourism and director of the National Travel and Tourism Office, at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Congress created the office last December when it passed the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act. The position will sit inside the Department of Commerce.
But the legislation passed didn’t provide funding for the office and the U.S Travel Association has been working with Congress on it. The assistant secretary position has not been filled yet.
In its 2024 budget, the Department of Commerce requested $3.5 million in additional funding. “Once the funding is received, Commerce will move forward in establishing the office and the underlying components moving forward,” Beall told the Senate subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion.
The U.S. has historically been the only country among the G-20 to not have a cabinet-level tourism office.
The office will be responsible for setting annual visitation goals, creating a strategy to meet those goals and establishing interagency coordination to support U.S. tourism, said Senator Jacky Rosen, a Democrat from Nevada.
Rosen asked Beall how the Commerce Department will work with the new assistant secretary to help bring large conventions, sports competitions and special events to the United States.
Beall noted that as the global marketplace has become “increasingly competitive,” the assistant secretary role will amplify the work the department is already doing and help increase and attract large scale events into the United States.
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Photo credit: Brian Beall, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism and Director of the National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce