US Travel and Hilton executives launch conference discussion

by: Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News

These were the words of said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman, who added: “But when we talk about the travel industry, we’re really talking about every industry, how travel’s growth and success is integral to practically everything from manufacturing to education and far beyond.”

The U.S. Travel Association today launched a new quarterly press conference, led by Freeman and incoming U.S. Travel National Chair and Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta. Together, they offered an industry perspective and recommendations across a set of issues critical to America’s travel economy, including U.S. visa processing, the domestic aviation system, as well as insights and projections for business and leisure travel.

Each quarter, the association’s new Travel Outlook press conference will focus on pressing topics of importance to the growth of travel.

“We see a number of key opportunities ahead to drive our future growth.”

Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton and incoming National Chair of U.S. Travel Association, added: “Travel plays a critical role in America’s economic success, but it’s much more than that—our industry positively impacts people’s lives. I look forward to working even more closely with U.S. Travel, along with our partners across government and industry, to increase travel to and within the United States.”

Key policy priorities discussed today that will enable stronger travel growth include:

International inbound travel

Decrease unacceptable visitor visa wait times, which total more than 400 days worldwide in the United States’ top 10 visa-requiring markets
Eliminate the vaccine requirement for international visitors
Restore the Chinese inbound travel market and ensure processing operations run efficiently as demand increases

Domestic travel

Improve the air travel system and create a seamless and secure travel experience from end to end, beginning with opportunities this year as Congress works to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration
Get the federal workforce back to the office and encourage the return of government business travel
Leverage the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to enable better traveler mobility options within our nation’s travel infrastructure

Modernizing the travel system

U.S. Travel also spoke to findings of a new Ipsos Poll field survey, conducted between January 13 and January 22, highlighting pain points in the travel experience, which will help inform the association’s work to modernize the entire travel system. Of note: 

The air travel experience is sub-par for nearly half of Americans: Just one in 10 Americans who have flown by air (13%) rate their overall travel experience as excellent while nearly half (45%) rate it as average or below average

Crowds and congestion, flight delays or cancellations, airport security process and cumbersome travel logistics were the main contributors to a less-than-excellent travel experience

Approximately half of Americans are comfortable sharing biometric data with TSA—such as fingerprints and facial recognition—for a more seamless travel experience

“The latest data is a clear sign that significant upgrades are needed to kickstart a reimagined air travel experience that works for all Americans,” added Freeman.

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