This Just In

Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act Establishes an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism in the U.S. Department of Commerce

MADDY RYLEY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The recently passed $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill in the U.S. includes the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act, which creates the first Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The position will be the first tourism-dedicated Assistant Secretary in the U.S. 

The trade show and tourism industries are optimistic that the new position will play an important role to achieving their goals, such as lowering visa wait times, modernizing the process of processing visas and helping mitigate the effects of the pandemic as the industry continues to recover. 

In a statement from the U.S. Travel Association, President and CEO Geoff Freeman said, “This is a tremendous win for travelers, the travel industry and America’s economy. The idea to create a presidentially appointed, U.S. Senate-confirmed position to lead federal travel policy has been around for decades. Thanks to a bipartisan and bicameral group of congressional leaders, the U.S. will now join all G20 countries with a senior federal official focused on travel. 

“The Assistant Secretary will play an important role as we partner with government to lower visitor visa wait times, modernize security screening and leverage new technologies to make travel more seamless and secure.” 

Other points in the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act include establishing a U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, direct the Secretary of Commerce to study the effects of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry and develop and submit a 10-year travel and tourism strategy at least once every ten years. 

Reach Geoff Freeman at gfreeman@ustravel.org 

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