Government Spending Bill Includes Travel Industry Provisions

This week, the U.S. Senate released a $1.7 trillion fiscal year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill—which will fund many and various federal government projects for the upcoming year. Among the inclusions was the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act.

This means, according to the office of Senator Jacky Rosen, that the U.S. travel and tourism industry would be strengthened by creating an Assistant Secretary of Commerce of Travel and Tourism position to coordinate tourism strategy across the federal government. There currently isn’t anyone in the federal government responsible for developing and coordinating this national strategy, making the U.S. the only G20 country to lack an agency or cabinet in charge of tourism policy.

In addition, the legislation would formally authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, allow for the collection of data on domestic travel and tourism, mandate the development of a national travel and tourism strategy every 10 years, and create a report on the effects of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry.

The legislation has been endorsed by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), U.S. Travel Association, and American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), among others.

Trade Reaction

“Business travel is an important driver for business and keeping economies moving worldwide,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of the GBTA. “Even as we’re seeing strides in the return of business travel, the industry continues to need additional support and resources to continue its recovery. As such, GBTA supports the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act as a positive step in restoring global business travel and meetings in the U.S. and abroad.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel advisors had a front-row seat to the scattered nature of federal oversight of the travel industry. Contending with numerous federal agencies and ever-changing, and sometimes conflicting, rules regarding travel while struggling to keep their businesses alive put unnecessary and avoidable hardships on travel advisors, said Eben Peck, EVP, advocacy, ASTA. “Creating a high-level leadership position within the federal government focused on travel industry concerns, as this legislation does, would protect the industry from unnecessary setbacks due to conflicting and confusing policy decisions in the future."

“This is a great outcome for travelers and the travel industry alike as the U.S. now joins every G20 nation in prioritizing the travel experience,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act enhances federal leadership for the travel industry by establishing a new Assistant Secretary to elevate travel issues and the industry’s positive impact on the U.S. economy.”

Said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the AHLA: “The aptly named ‘Tour Bus’ legislation contains commonsense initiatives to help hotel employees, small businesses and the lodging industry to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Critical components include promoting America as a destination for international travelers, establishing a new top tourism position at the Commerce Department, and commissioning a comprehensive study of the pandemic’s effects on the travel and tourism industry. Each of these initiatives will establish new opportunities for industry growth, job creation and positive economic expansion in local communities.”

A version of this story originally appeared on

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