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The Roundtable Joins “Visit U.S.” Coalition to Spur International Tourism, Domestic Job Creation and Economic Growth

  • January 19, 2018

The Real Estate Roundtable joined 10 national trade organizations as a member of the "Visit U.S." Coalition, which launched on Wednesday with the goals of spurring job creation and economic growth while reversing a decline in international visitors to the United States.  (Visit U.S., Jan. 16).

According to the U.S. Travel Association, global travel volume to the United States from 2015 to 2017 fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent — the first decline after more than a decade of consistent growth.  The statistics also show that if the U.S. had maintained its 2015 international travel market share, its economy would have gained an additional 4 million international visitors, $32.2 billion in spending and 100,000 jobs. 

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The coalition represents a broad cross-section of industries that have come together to address the recent drop in travel to the U.S. and resulting opportunity cost to the economy and jobs.  According to the U.S. Travel Association, global travel volume to the United States from 2015 to 2017 fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent — the first decline after more than a decade of consistent growth.  The statistics also show that if the U.S. had maintained its 2015 international travel market share, its economy would have gained an additional 4 million international visitors, $32.2 billion in spending and 100,000 jobs. 

"As a vital component of the commercial real estate industry, the U.S. hospitality sector provides significant capital investment, creates enormous job opportunities and encourages infrastructure improvements in local communities throughout the country," said Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer.  "CRE is the provider of secure spaces where people live and play in the United States, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the Trump Administration and our coalition partners to encourage a positive uptick in international tourism to our cities, towns, destinations and attractions," added DeBoer. 

Roundtable members were recently briefed on the drop in foreign travel to the United States and the economic ramifications by Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) — the largest trade association representing the U.S. lodging industry.  (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 6, 2017) 

AHLA, a founding member of Visit U.S., supports policy initiatives such as reforms that enable safe and secure processing of visitor visas to strengthen business and leisure travel — as well as the H-2B program to provide valuable support for businesses looking to supplement their workforce with temporary seasonal employees when American workers are unavailable. 

During the travel coalition's launch this week, Lugar said, "Fewer visitors means fewer hotel stays, fewer meals eaten in our restaurants, fewer goods purchased in our retail stores, and fewer visits to our national attractions. It also means fewer American jobs and a loss to our economy. We are committed to working together with the Administration to balance a welcome message with strong security to ensure we don't fall behind to other countries." 

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, another founding member of Visit U.S., added, "America is the best country in the world to visit, but we're losing the competition for international travelers and the dollars they spend when they come here.  The Visit U.S. Coalition is founded on the principle that we can have strong security but at the same time welcome robust numbers of international business and leisure travelers. We can do both." 

Left to Right: Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer,   American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO  Katherine Lugar and Roundtable Chairman William C. Rudin (  Rudin Management Company, Inc  .)

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"The U.S. economy is on the upswing, but we can grow even more by encouraging more travel to America," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, also part of the coalition. "Travel creates jobs and economic activity across a swath of industries and sectors as people visit the U.S. and spend their time and money with American businesses. The Chamber is proud to join with our partners in the business community to make the case for a renewed focus on travel as a driver of economic growth and American prosperity."

Media coverage regarding the coalition's launch includes: