Washington DC — The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) this week launched a football-themed “Travel Blitz” program designed to encourage members to demonstrate the importance of travel within Congressional districts throughout the U.S. and build long-term relationships with members of Congress.
Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said it’s not enough for members of the industry to understand the critical role travel plays in the nation’s economic health. “We must spread that important message to every member of Congress,” he said.
While the USTA has long worked with members of Congress to effect change at the legislative level, Travel Blitz emphasizes individual relationships at the Congressional District level that can be built by hosting U.S. Representatives at industry events and roundtables that demonstrate the importance of travel in their own districts.
“We all know that face to face meetings are the best way to get business done,” said USTA director of grassroots and industry relations Candice Knezevic. “Now we’re encouraging the travel community to organize (their own) face to face meetings with Congressional members,” she added.
A toolkit for the Travel Blitz program is available at http://travelcoalition.org/travelblitz. “We’re providing the playbook, but it’s up to the members to run the plays,” Knezevic said.
The launch came on the heels of predictions about the effect of the looming federal budget cuts—dubbed sequester cuts–set to take effect March 1. In comments released Feb. 20, Dow said cutbacks within the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection agencies alone had the potential to derail a travel-led economic recovery.
“Travel has the very real potential of becoming the face of the March 1 sequester cuts,” Dow said. “We strongly urge Congress to take immediate action on the impending federal budget cuts.” A USTA mobile messaging program asks travelers to text the word ‘DELAYED’ to 877-877 for instructions about how to share their opinions with their own legislators.