WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion, introduced her bipartisan bill, the Travel Optimization by Updating and Revitalizing Infrastructure to Support Mobilization (TOURISM) Act. This bipartisan legislation – introduced alongside Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS); Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus Co-Chair Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion Ranking Member Rick Scott (R-FL); Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV); and Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus Co-Chair Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) – requires that the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan is updated to develop an immediate-term and long-term strategy for the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other agencies to use infrastructure investments to revive the travel and tourism industries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nevada, travel and tourism are central to our state’s economy and a major part of our state’s workforce. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s travel and tourism industries have experienced significant challenges,” said Senator Rosen. “My colleagues and I introduced this bipartisan legislation to update our national strategy for investing in America’s travel and tourism infrastructure, which will boost the economy in our state and nationally. By making these additional investments, we can help American travel and tourism get back to creating jobs, drive economic growth, and allow visitors to see and take part in the unique and worthwhile experiences that our communities and our states have to offer.”
“The travel and tourism industry is a key pillar of the American economy,” said Senator Wicker. “It may take years to restore travel and tourism to its pre-pandemic levels. However, I am hopeful that the bipartisan TOURISM Act will identify opportunities to help the sector prosper once again.”
BACKGROUND: The bipartisan TOURISM Act is endorsed by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, the Vegas Chamber, the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Chamber of Commerce, and the Urban Chamber of Commerce Las Vegas.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which became law in 2015, required the Secretary of DOT – in consultation with the National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism, State departments of transportation, and other appropriate public and private transportation stakeholders – to develop a National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan, which includes policy recommendations to aid the industry.
DOT published the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan in January 2021, which is intended to inform policy and investment until 2024. However, as this plan was drafted, the pandemic and its impacts were still unfolding.
The TOURISM Act would update the National Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan to develop an immediate-term and long-term strategy for DOT and other agencies to use infrastructure investments to revive the travel and tourism industry and the overall travel and tourism economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, Rosen was named Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s newly formed Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion.
Earlier this year, Senator Rosen joined her colleagues in sending a letter to Commerce Secretary Raimondo requesting that the Secretary work with the Administration and the Tourism Policy Council (TPC), to update the Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy (NTTS) to account for the impacts of COVID-19.