IITA Insights Newsletter - March 29, 2017
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Dear Members,

This week will be a busy one for IITA and the travel industry as we flood the nation’s capital for Destination Capitol Hill, the legislative fly-in event led by the US Travel Association. Our Secretary Gerrit De Vos, of Bonotel, Executive Director Lisa Simon and I will participate on behalf of IITA to carry important messages to our Congressional representatives, like:

  • Travel is America’s largest export industry, generating more than $246 billion in travel exports in 2015 and accounting for 11 percent of all US exports of goods and services.
  • The critical importance of infrastructure funding for the National Parks.
  • Preserving the Visa Waiver Program and emphasizing how it strengthens U.S. security – high security needs and increasing inbound visitation are not at odds.
  • The inbound travel industry depends on timely data and market intelligence provided by the National Travel and Tourism Office and the marketing efforts of Brand USA.

In addition to Congressional meetings, we’ll meet with representatives of the National Parks Service and National Travel and Tourism Office. Gerrit and I will attend our first US Travel Association Board meeting where we’ll further represent the interests of IITA inbound operators and the inbound industry. Finally, I will attend the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board meeting where we’ll have the first opportunity to share the industry’s needs with new Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

On another note, we’re working with Brand USA as they focus on product development, since IITA members provide the product for international visitors. They’re putting itineraries together that will help international visitors have rich experiences while in the U.S. We will have more information to share in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Finally, we are fine-tuning this year’s Committee structure and will begin appointing Committee members shortly – please let us know if you’re interested in serving. Now is the time to engage at a deeper level with IITA as we unite the industry to address the many challenges we face.

I’ll be sure to give you an update on this week’s DC meetings in the next newsletter. As always, it’s my pleasure to carry your voice through our advocacy efforts.
-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

March 28-29
Destination Capitol Hill
More Information

April 5
Forecast for International Travel Webinar
Register Here

April 19
Secure Tourism Summit
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May 11 - 12
Tourism Cares for Detroit
More Information

June 3-7
IPW 2017
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2018 IITA Summit
February 4-7, 2018
Are you interested in serving on an IITA Committee? Click here to express your interest.
IITA and US Travel met Tuesday, during Destination Capitol Hill, to discuss mutual advocacy priorities.
L to R: Malcolm Smith, Lisa Simon, Roger Dow, Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Gary Schluter, Gerrit De Vos.
Sens. Warner, Portman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address National Park Service Maintenance Backlog
NPS has a $12 billion backlog in deferred and overdue maintenance – half is critical transportation infrastructure
Yesterday, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the National Park Service Legacy Act, bipartisan legislation which would address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS).
Due to years of chronic underfunding, NPS has deferred maintenance for a year or more on visitor centers, rest stops, trails and campgrounds, as well as transportation infrastructure operated by NPS such as the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Arlington Memorial Bridge. NPS maintains more than 75,000 assets across the country, including campgrounds, natural lands, historic trails, irrigation and electrical systems, as well as thousands of miles of roads. Of these, 41,000 – or more than half – are in need of repairs.
Over the past decade, Congressional financial support for park maintenance has decreased by 40 percent, and the last time Congress directly addressed the infrastructure needs of the park system was in 1956. The Warner-Portman National Park Service Legacy Act establishes a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating $500 million annually from existing revenues the government receives for oil and natural gas royalties, every year, until 2047.
Travel Ban Executive Orders are Begining to Generate Counter Responses
By: Stephen B. Richer
As a result of two recent travel ban executive orders - even though both have been suspended by federal judges - various jurisdictions around the world are making their own decisions related to travel to the U.S.
A significant decision from a totally unexpected country is the newly announced policy of the Toronto School Board to cease student field trips to the United States, due to the lack of clarity on these executive orders and how they would be implemented.  The school board, representing the country’s largest school system, took the preemptive action because it simply does not want to risk any problems down the road.
There are other anecdotal accounts and news reports about steps taken by national governments in countries not specifically named in either executive order.  Two examples are Pakistan and Nigeria.  

Click here to read more. 
IITA Webinar: Forecast for International Travel 2017-2021
Wednesday, April 5
2:00 p.m. ET
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office provides products and services to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and increase its exports, thereby creating U.S. employment and economic growth. This session will examine the U.S. inbound tourism forecast from the leading source countries and examine “up and coming” sources of leisure travelers to the United States. During this webinar attendees will also hear about what goes into the NTTO forecast and how it all is used together to develop the projections on travel to the U.S.
Ron Erdmann is the Deputy Director for Research at the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO).  He is responsible for the oversight and improvement of the Office’s seven international travel and tourism research programs.  These programs provide key market intelligence on the volume and characteristics of travelers to and from the United States.  Another responsibility he enjoys is working with industry users to provide practical marketing intelligence on how to effectively use research data to increase exports.  He serves as the Office liaison to the Travel & Tourism Advisory Board research sub-committee and the Tourism Policy Council research committee.  He is also part of the Commerce Team that developed and is now working to implement the National Travel & Tourism Strategy. 
Register Now: Forecast for International Travel 2017-2021 Webinar