The United States Conference of Mayors, the official organization of mayors of cities with a population of 30,000 or more, approved several key travel industry resolutions 3 weeks ago at their 79th Annual Conference of Mayors in Baltimore. By supporting these resolutions, the elected officials indirectly put their support behind the event meeting services industry, which is highly dependent upon travel for their national and international conferences and meetings.
Here is an executive summary of their support:
Support of Improving International Travel Facilitation
- A highly inefficient and unpredictable visa application approval process.
- Lack of personnel to process and interview visa applicants and lack of access to a U.S. consular facility.
- Poor planning and communication to applicants.
They understand that by taking down these barriers, America will regain the 17% share of worldwide overseas travel at little or no cost to taxpayers and it will:
- Attract 98 million more legitimate visitors.
- Create an additional 1.3 million U.S. jobs by 2020 compared with 2010.
- Inject $859 billion into the U.S. economy.
Support of Creating a Government Administered Trusted Traveler Program
- A 2008 survey of air travelers found that 28% of travelers avoided at least one trip because of air travel hassles, which translates into a $26.5 billion dollar loss to the U.S. economy, including $4.2 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.
- In a 2010 survey conducted by Consensus Research Group, American travelers would take an additional 2 to 3 flights per year if the hassles in security screening system were eliminated, and these additional flights would add nearly $85 billion in consumer spending and 900,000 jobs to the American economy.
As a result, The U.S. Conference of Mayors desires that the Transportation Security Administration implement a new, voluntary, government-run trusted traveler program, with the goals of refocusing aviation security resources on the highest risk passengers, improving passenger facilitation, and maintaining a high level of security.
Support of the President’s High Speed Rail Initiative
High speed rail will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and rail cars.
Bottom Line for the Conference Services and Event Industry
As you can read, these three initiatives, if carried out, will result in an influx of international meeting attendees, more jobs, more revenue for the US economy, and transportation alternatives that make sense. How can you help make these resolutions a reality? Here are some things to do:
- Send a letter to your mayor supporting these initiatives. Find out how your organization can help. No matter the size of your event services company, every letter, email, and phone call helps.
- Lobby your U.S. Congressman and Senator. If you are going to Washington D.C. sometime in the next year, contact your legislators for a meeting. Find out what action they are taking on these resolutions and ask how you can help make them a reality.
- Work with the U.S. Travel Association to spread the word to other industry partners.