Organizations Urge Senate to Pass Rosen’s Travel and Tourism Omnibus to Help Get Economy Back on Track Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)—Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion—announced today that her bipartisan legislative package to help restore the nation’s travel and tourism industry in the face of ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been endorsed by a wide array of key Nevada and national organizations.

In recent weeks, the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act has been endorsed in letters and statements of support by more than a dozen leading Nevada-based and national groups:

“There’s more work to do to restore the travel and tourism industry to its full potential, and I’m glad to see growing support from tourism leaders for our bipartisan legislation,” said Senator Rosen. “Local and national organizations are endorsing the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act because our legislation will help this key sector of Nevada’s economy bounce back while supporting the businesses and workers who have been hit hard by this pandemic.”

The Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act advanced through the Senate Commerce Committee in December with unanimous support. This legislative package was introduced by Senator Rosen and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee Roger Wicker (R-MS) with a large bipartisan group of co-sponsors, including Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Rick Scott (R-FL). 

Tourism is one of Nevada’s key industries and employs nearly 350,000 Nevadans. Although Nevada’s economy is beginning to recover and experiencing strong growth, the state unemployment rate remains the worst in the country. In the Las Vegas area, visitor volume is still down 7.6% and hotel room occupancy is down 8.4% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Nationwide, unemployment in the leisure and hospitality industry, covering the bulk of tourism businesses and workers, is nearly twice the national average.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

  • Nevada Resort Association – Virginia Valentine, President & CEO: “While the industry is faring better today than we were six months ago, we remain below many key 2019 economic indicators and continue to have the nation’s highest unemployment rate. With international travel just beginning to return and the tradeshow and convention business still lagging, economists estimate our full recovery to remains 18 to 24 months away. Further, the impact of omicron and new variants loom as a threat to the progress we have made. During this pivotal time, the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act would be a substantial bulwark against the challenges and uncertainties that may arise due to new variants, such as omicron, and would provide much needed resources to help the industry bring back more jobs and restore the economic activity our communities depend on.
  • Vegas Chamber – Mary Beth Sewald, President & CEO: “The Vegas Chamber has a long history of engaging on tourism and hospitality legislation at the federal level of government. As you know, Southern Nevada’s tourism industry is an important economic engine in our community and state. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for championing the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021 and offer our support for this important piece of legislation.
  • Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) – Charles Harris, President & CEO: “The travel sector is responsible for an annual economic impact of more than $39 billion to the Silver State and employs more Nevadans than any other industry. The Reno Tahoe area is no exception, annually drawing millions of visitors both foreign and domestic. The “Tour Bus” bill provides myriad measures for sustaining the future of travel to and throughout the U.S. This bill promises to make air travel safer, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent, unforeseen complications. It also will lead to greater efficiency and comfort in travel, which will inspire potential travelers to take action that will support local businesses and put food on the table for tens-of-thousands of Nevadans.”
  • Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) – Steve Hill, President & CEO: “While domestic and leisure travel have made significant progress, international and business travel remain far behind pre-pandemic norms. The international business and travel sectors need additional support to fully recover. The Omnibus Travel and Tourism act of 2021 takes important steps to bring the future of travel and tourism into focus.
  • Get Outdoors Nevada & Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition – Rachel Bergren, Executive Director of Get Outdoors Nevada; and Louis M. Bubala, Treasurer for Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition: “​​Nevada and other outdoor recreation destinations throughout the country need to be ready to engage visitors and support outdoor businesses that have suffered in the pandemic. It is because of the intersection of our mission and commitment to outdoor recreation that GON and NVOBC jointly support the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act.
  • American Gaming Association (AGA) – William C. Miller, President & CEO: “The American Gaming Association (AGA), the national trade group representing the commercial and tribal U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.8 million jobs nationwide, is proud to support S. 3375, the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act. As we continue to weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this important legislation would take meaningful steps to bolster U.S. travel and tourism and support our industry’s recovery. The Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act recognizes the importance of travel to our economy by establishing an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism and coordinating tourism policy across multiple federal agencies.” 
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) – Chip Rogers, President & CEO: “On behalf of America’s hotel and lodging industry, thank you for your leadership on the bipartisan ‘Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021. As our nation continues to recover from the devastation caused by the global pandemic, this bill would provide critical support America’s hoteliers, lodging workforce, and their communities, and pave the way towards a full recovery in the travel and tourism sector.”
  • Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – Suzanne Neufang, CEO: “We estimate this year's global business travel spending will be 40% less than prior estimates, a loss of approximately $550 billion in annual direct travel spending due to the pandemic. The business travel industry needs additional support and resources to recover. As such, GBTA supports the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021 as a positive step in restoring global business travel and meetings in the U.S. and abroad.”
  • US Tour Operators Association & National Tour Association (USTOA-NTA) – Terry Dale, President and Chief Executive Officer, United States Tour Operators Association; and Catherine Prather, CTP, President of National Tour Association: “After being decimated due to the pandemic, it was critically important for our members to tap back into the international market following borders reopening on November 8. This move resulted in much-needed capital to keep our members’ businesses operational, and has helped bring tourism dollars back to communities that have suffered without business for almost two years. More must be done to help our industry, and this commonsense legislation is a great first step. We are highly supportive of the legislation and the key provisions within it. 
  • US Travel Association – Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy: “Proactive government planning will be necessary to shortening that timeline and restoring jobs more quickly. The bill establishes a much-needed Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism position to help lead the industry’s recovery and provide permanent federal leadership to increase global competitiveness. Prior to the pandemic, travel was a $2.6 trillion industry that supported 16.7 million jobs and generated our nation’s largest service sector export. As the travel industry plays an outsized role in driving the overall U.S. economy, such a high-level position is vital to our country’s long-term recovery.
  • Outdoor Industry Association – Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director:  “Tourism and travel are integral components of the outdoor industry, as people from across the world travel to our nation’s national parks, forests, and waterways to experience the unique and breathtaking opportunities the American outdoors has to offer. This package would take important steps to safely rebuild the American travel and tourism industry, which in turn would bolster the outdoor industry and support local economies and job creation in communities in all 50 states. We are proud to support this package and are grateful for the leadership of Senators Jacky Rosen and Roger Wicker for sponsoring this bill.”

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