U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Begich (D-AK), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced a resolution recognizing National Travel and Tourism Week. The senators are members of the bipartisan Senate Tourism Caucus.
"Tourism is one of America's largest exports. Whether it's the Mall of America or a bed and breakfast in Gran Marais, when tourists come and spend money in our communities it helps lift up local economies," Klobuchar said. "Boosting tourism will help create better opportunities for businesses and spur job creation across Minnesota and the country."
"This resolution recognizes the important role travel and tourism play in our economy. Alaska's visitor industry generated over $3.4 billion in economic impact for the state last year and employed over 40,000 Alaskans," said Senator Begich. "Supporting and acknowledging travel and tourism is a testament not only to its economic value, but also to the cultural and educational value from visiting communities throughout the United States and Alaska. I'm honored to sponsor this resolution with my fellow co-chairs and members of the Senate Tourism Caucus."
"Travel and tourism are significant economic engines in Missouri and across America," said Blunt. "Visitors traveling to see our wide range of attractions in the U.S. help spur much-needed private sector job creation and add billions of dollars to our nation's economy annually. I'm glad to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan resolution that promotes the valuable contributions of travel and tourism to our country."
"Last year alone, tourism brought over $10 billion to the state of Illinois, and this industry remains an invaluable asset to our country's economy," said a spokesperson for Senator Kirk. "Congress should prioritize travel promotion initiatives that will create American jobs and enhance cross-cultural understanding."
"Travel and tourism are extremely important components of the economy in Louisiana and across the country," Sen. Landrieu said. "As chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I have worked to streamline the process of granting visas to foreign visitors and business travelers to come to the U.S. I have also worked to make the air travel experience as efficient and customer-friendly as possible and facilitate commerce across our borders through a risk-based common sense approach to homeland security that keeps us safe while preserving our global competitiveness and welcoming visitors to this great country of ours."
Klobuchar chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees the U.S. tourism industry and has long supported efforts to increase tourism to the United States as a way to drive economic growth. Klobuchar recently introduced the bipartisan Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as well as Senators Blunt and Kirk, which would allow travelers to expedite the processing of business and tourist visas, speed up the time it takes to receive a visa interview, encourage the State Department to allow multiple-entry visas for qualified Chinese tourists, and allow longer visits to the United States for some Canadian tourists. Klobuchar has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Blunt that would allow the State Department the flexibility to streamline and expand their visa processing services without compromising national security.
Senator Begich was an original cosponsor of the Travel Promotion Act which created Brand USA, the public/private partnership charged with marketing the United States abroad to increase overseas visitors. Begich is also sponsored the Travel Regional Investment Partnership (TRIP) Act (S.1663) which creates a matching grant program in the Department of Commerce to promote domestic tourism through local and regional partnerships.