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Travel Community Welcomes End of Federal Shutdown

October 19, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The U.S. Travel Association today praised the White House and Congress for bringing an end to the federal shutdown that had crippled much of the country’s travel economy since October 1.

“America’s travel community thanks President Obama and congressional leaders for reaching bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and end the hemorrhaging of dollars and jobs that threatened to hobble the United States travel economy,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “The shutdown’s damage cannot be undone, but reopening the government will allow America’s travel community to get back to work and continue to drive U.S. economic recovery.”

Reopening the federal government will end the estimated loss of $152 million per day in travel-related economic output and provide increased financial security to as many as 450,000 American workers who are supported by travel. Travel is America’s No.1 services export, and the travel industry has added jobs at a rate three times faster than the rest of the economy since recovery began in 2010.

Though services such as security screening and air traffic control were largely unaffected by the shutdown, the closure of national parks and historic sites severely harmed the many local economies that depend upon visitors to those destinations. U.S. Travel chronicled some of their stories on its “Tales from the Frontline” page.

During the shutdown, countries such as Germany, the U.K. and China—which together account for more than five million visitors to the U.S. annually—issued warnings to their citizens about possible shutdown-related problems and delays when traveling to and within the U.S. Dow warned that the shutdown likely will have long-term consequences for the United States’ brand in the competitive international travel market.

“Economies hate uncertainty,” Dow said. “Now that the shutdown has been concluded, the best thing our federal policymakers can do for our economy is to pursue a long-term fiscal plan that includes commitments to invest in our country’s aging travel infrastructure.”

Dow also hailed comments from President Obama that the shutdown’s end will allow him to return focus to pursuing an immigration reform package.

“Immigration reform was among the constructive legislative efforts that unfortunately were derailed by the shutdown,” Dow said. “The travel community strongly supported the package that has already been passed by the Senate, and we have every confidence that leaders in the House will move forward on this important issue.”

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