U.S. spending bill creates the first assistant secretary of tourism: Travel Weekly

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The US will establish its first tourism-focused assistant secretary status as part of the $1.7 trillion comprehensive spending bill passed by Congress on Friday.

The bill includes, among other travel industry priorities, the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act, which establishes the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Assistant Secretary of State for Travel and Tourism.

Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president of advocacy, said establishing high-level leadership within the federal government “will protect the industry from unnecessary setbacks from future conflicting and confusing policy decisions.” It could,” the person said, adding that the person would “implement national strategies and policies to grow travel.”

“This is a huge win for travelers, the travel industry and the American economy,” said Geoff Freeman, CEO of US Travel. “As we work with governments to reduce wait times for visitor visas, modernize security screening and leverage new technologies to make travel more seamless and safe, the Assistant Secretary will play an important role. .”

Both Peck and Freeman noted that the United States is the only G20 country that does not have a federal agency or cabinet-level official in charge of tourism policy.

Having passed the House, Friday’s omibus spending bill headed to the president’s desk for signature by President Biden.

Passage of the bill was a major component of ASTA’s policy priorities this year. During its annual Legislative Day visit to Washington in June, more than 225 travel advisors and suppliers representing ASTA advocated on behalf of the Visit America Act to see how government restrictions have impacted business through the pandemic. Peck said he shared a personal story about how he influenced

“Their efforts paid off as the legislation tripled its co-sponsors in the week following ASTA’s enactment date,” he said.

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