Last meeting here was in 2002, 14 years ago. So much has happened since. It’s a perfect time to showcase a revitalized New Orleans ahead of city’s tricentennial in 2018.
• Welcome to the 48th annual IPW.
• Great to return to New Orleans. Our 4th time hosting IPW in Crescent City.
• Last meeting here was in 2002, 14 years ago. So much has happened since. It’s a perfect time to showcase a revitalized New Orleans ahead of city’s tricentennial in 2018.
• We’re celebrating another auspicious anniversary this year, the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service.
• Data and IPW delegates tell me that, year after year, U.S. national parks are a favorite destination for international travelers.
• IPW premier partner Brand USA is supporting the Park Service centennial with a phenomenal new IMAX documentary film, “National Parks Adventure” –set to show in 44 locations around the world.
• Proud to say that Brand USA is providing dynamic support for IPW, and renewed their partnership with us through 2020. We look forward to growing each IPW with Brand USA into ever more successful events.
• IPW tremendous success:
o 1,300 travel buyers from over 70 countries;
o Over 500 domestic and international media;
o Over 6,000 total delegates will conduct 100,000 business appointments.
• Additionally, New Orleans will reap the benefits of hosting IPW for years to come. Business conducted in these halls will generate:
o More than $4.7 billion in future travel to the U.S.;
o $1.7 billion in direct economic impact for New Orleans;
o One million additional visitors to the New Orleans area over next three years.
• These numbers, and many others, illustrate how travel—particularly inbound international travel—is serious business for the U.S.
o 75 million international visitors to U.S.;
o Spent $133 billion last year;
o Supporting more than one million jobs.
• Now unfortunately, there are scary things going on in the world that sometimes make us think twice about going about our daily lives, including travel. So if you take one thing away from my remarks today, it’s that this country needs to stay open and stay connected.
• There’s been no shortage of horrifying news lately, most recently with the attacks in Orlando.
• Our industry, this country and the entire world have been tested by similar scary stories. Terror attacks in San Bernardino, Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, Beirut and Istanbul. The spread of the Zika virus.
• The world is ever more connected and complex, but it’s impossible to insulate ourselves from risk. We must not retreat out of fear, but instead stay open, and stay connected.
• America is not a fortress and it should not be. It would be dangerous and costly to try to cut ourselves off from the world.
• The U.S. Travel Association’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. As such, we believe that our responses to threats in today’s world should be informed by intelligence, innovation and continuing to engage our friends and allies.
• We stand our best chance to achieve security and prosperity when travelers, and indeed all of us, choose freedom over fear.
• U.S. Travel continually works towards policies to keep America a welcoming destination for international visitors, thereby ensuring that we stay open, and stay connected.
• Our industry has weathered many storms, and has grown into an even stronger and more productive partner to our country’s leaders.
• We’ve been doing this for 75 years, in fact. This fall, we will recognize the 75th anniversary of what is today the U.S. Travel Association. We’re very fortunate to have as our national chair Todd Davidson of Travel Oregon, someone who works very ably with our partners in government and continues to help us forge new relationships.
• I’d like to invite Todd to the stage to highlight some of the more interesting milestones on the long and successful road we’ve journeyed.
• Thank you, Roger. This fall, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Travel Association.
• In October 1941, travel leaders from across the country convened at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. to form an association aimed at promoting and advocating for the travel industry.
• That vision has been achieved.
• It’s fair to say the strong rapport between our industry and the U.S. government really kicked off in 1960, when President Dwight Eisenhower declared it the “Visit the U.S.A.” year.
• We knew our relationship with the White House had durability when President John F. Kennedy launched the “See the U.S.A.” campaign in 1963.
• Our ties with U.S. commanders-in-chief only strengthened from there. We can count several significant moments for travel that were advanced by Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, among others.
• The current administration, though, has been one of the strongest partners in our association’s history.
• In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act, which created Brand USA, our premier partner for IPW.
• President Obama also announced a National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which seeks to welcome 100 million international visitors to the U.S. by 2021. And as Roger noted, we are well on our way to meeting it.
• We’re happy to note that in 2014, Brand USA was reauthorized through 2020 in a refreshingly bipartisan act of Congress.
• In addition to our collaborations with government over the decades, I’d be remiss if I did not call out the year 1969, when the first IPW was held in New York City.
• From 1941 to 2016, our industry and our organization have come a long way. As such, engagement with our nation’s leaders, and the rest of the world, are ever higher.
• We are now, and will always be, a connector of the travel industry, a leader in research and analysis, and a collaborative, trusted advisor to our country’s policymakers, no matter their political persuasion.
• And we remain dedicated to advancing legislation that keeps us open and connected to the world.
• Thank you, Todd. This relationship with U.S. leaders is particularly critical in light of current events.
• Travel often finds itself in a challenging position in the wake of events such as terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, when the Visa Waiver Program, one of our most valuable security and travel facilitation programs, came under intense scrutiny.
• The VWP is tremendously important to the U.S., both for our national security, our economy and our diplomatic relations.
• Nearly 52 percent of overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2015 arrived here under the VWP.
• These travelers generated $119 billion in economic impact for the U.S. economy and supported more than 780,000 American jobs.
• A few less-than-informed U.S. leaders called for shutting this program down entirely. However, through active engagement with our lawmakers, we were able to preserve and even enhance it.
• The VWP opens our country to legitimate travelers from a variety of allied nations, and is widely embraced by partner countries involved.
• Unfortunately, some EU policymakers have suggested suspending VWP reciprocity altogether because not all EU nations have qualified to enter this program.
• I’ve spoken about the value of the VWP to America. I’d now like to invite to the stage David Scowsill, of the World Travel and Tourism Council, to share a more global perspective on the VWP. He’ll also provide more detail on the EU reciprocity debate, and discuss his organization’s efforts to head off any such suspension.
• Thank you, David. We hope the EU will make the right decision and uphold VWP agreements with the U.S.
• The VWP is one example of a trusted traveler program that’s crucial to our industry. It’s important travelers process through security efficiently when they arrive, as they move about the country and when they leave. Trusted traveler programs keep everyone safer while giving travelers the efficient, 21st-century screening process they deserve.
• Many of you have no doubt heard recent stories about long lines at U.S. airport security checkpoints. Thankfully, TSA has tackled this issue head-on—99 percent of travelers now wait less than 30 minutes in security lines, and 93 percent wait less than 15 minutes.
• Our organization will continue to help TSA in their efforts to streamline the security process at U.S. airports by aggressively advocating for increasing enrollment in TSA PreCheck, a valuable trusted traveler program.
• U.S. Travel is dedicated in particular to streamlining the security process for international visitors coming to our country—after all, first impressions are important, and a slow, inefficient entry process can deter visits.
• We aim to do this two ways. One, we want to expand a trusted traveler program that many of you may be more familiar with, Global Entry, which is run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
• Global Entry, like TSA PreCheck, allows pre-screened travelers to pass through special lanes for a much faster security process—it makes the entry or re-entry process into the U.S. much more pleasant.
• Additionally, we actively promote the expansion of CBP’s preclearance locations. Preclearance, which many of you may have passed through in your travels, allows travelers to clear customs at designated foreign airports with direct service to the U.S.
• Clearing customs before entry to the U.S. allows travelers to skip the often lengthy lines at the airport when they arrive. Adding more preclearance locations around the world will also help reduce the workload for U.S. customs agents, allowing them to focus attention on apprehending actual threats.
• I’d like to invite to the stage my good friend Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to discuss what CBP is doing to improve the entry process by expanding Global Entry and preclearance.
GIL KERLIKOWSKE REMARKS
• Thank you, Gil. Your partnership is of huge value to our organization, and to our industry.
• Once international visitors actually arrive, they need to be able to get around safely and efficiently, especially since they tend to visit at least two different destinations, on average, while they’re here in the U.S.
• Our travel infrastructure is what keeps travelers, and indeed our entire nation, connected. That’s why another key priority of ours is improving our nation’s infrastructure—fixing the state of our roads, rails, and airports.
• We’ve had some successes this year on this front.
• We saw the passage of the first long-term highway bill in a decade. Notably, this legislation gives travel and tourism leaders a seat at the table when major surface transportation projects are being planned.
• We’ve also changed the conversation in Washington on airport modernization. We want airports to have the ability to increase capacity, welcome more carriers, and better connect us to underserved markets.
• We need more entrants into the aviation market, more capacity for passengers, and more choice for travelers if we’re going to meet our goal of 100 million international visitors to the U.S. by 2021.
• Good news on that front: pleased to see that Condor Airlines will operate service between Frankfurt and New Orleans starting next summer.
• U.S. Travel wants to make sure more flights like this open up, and we are doing so by actively working to preserve and expand our Open Skies agreements with other nations.
• Before I wrap up today’s remarks, I’d like to address a few remaining issues that have our attention.
• Regarding the Zika virus: we recently called upon Congress to swiftly approve adequate funding for stopping the spread of the virus, and remain in close contact with White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Another item on my mind: the I-visa process. It’s important for me to get your feedback on this process, as it gives me first-hand evidence to present when making a case for policy reforms.
• In fact, right here at IPW, I have met with Ed Ramotowski, with Visa Services at the State Department, and have voiced your concerns.
• Now… despite some headlines, good things actually DO happen in our nation’s capital. Washington, D.C. will be next year’s host city.
• In fact, I’m excited to have confirmed IPW dates and locations througj 2024, as you can see:
o In 2017, IPW in our nation’s capital;
o In 2018, we’ll be in Denver, “the mile-high city,” capital of mountainous Colorado;
o In 2019, we invite you to sunny Anaheim, California, on America’s West Coast;
o 2020 brings IPW to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada;
o In 2021, we’ll return to the windy city, Chicago, Illinois;
o In 2022, beloved vacation spot Orlando, Florida will host;
o 2023 will take us deep in the heart of Texas to San Antonio, home of the Alamo;
o And finally, in 2024, we’ll be California dreamin’ in Los Angeles.
• All will be tremendous hosts.
• We have a lot ahead of us yet this year, though.
• The U.S. presidential election takes place this November.
• While there’s been a lot of partisan rancor, travel is bipartisan. As you heard from Todd earlier, we have a history of successful collaboration with presidential administrations from both sides of the political aisle.
• We will work with the next president, whoever it may be, to make sure that the U.S. enacts smart policies that welcome legitimate travelers to our country, and keep us open and connected to our ever-changing world.
• I think everyone has heard me loud and clear. Though we may face a few storms ahead, we will weather them, and the U.S. must stay open, and stay connected.
• I’ll take your questions now.