Friday, January 16, 2009

Tourism Industry Summit calls for end of travel bans

How to Fuel the U.S. Economy through Travel & Tourism

Seven Recommendations from the Economic Summit of Travel & Tourism Sector Leaders

excerpt Full text of recommendations and list of signers can be read here

On Dec. 16, 2008, 37 U.S. travel and tour entities gathered in Washington, D.C., for an historic high level meeting [organized by the National Tour Association].

Traditionally segmented by specific interests, these voices united for the first time to identify immediate top priorities for President-elect Obama’s Transition Team that will help fuel America’s economy.

As a collective voice, they speak for more than 82,000 businesses and members and stand ready to assist the new Administration in leveraging the travel and tourism sector as a stimulus for the national economy and global competitiveness.

[Although Cuba is not mentioned specifically, it is the only country currently affected by a travel ban.]

7. Re-Examination of Travel Bans

On rare occasions, the United States government has restricted or banned travel to certain countries as a punitive economic measure or to advance other foreign policy goals. It is recommended that the incoming Administration re-examine this practice and to eliminate any such bans currently in effect.

The use of travel freedom as an instrument of foreign policy manipulation ultimately harms the very citizens it purports to protect.
Were the American people allowed the opportunity to travel to countries whose leaders are publicly opposed to American interests, they could serve as ambassadors of freedom and American values to those nations. The travel and tourism industries, those who do business with them, and the broader economy will see both immediate and long-term economic gains as the easing of travel bans leads to increased demand for new passenger routes, tour operations, and travel agent services. It is recommended that the incoming Administration:

• Recognize that freedom to travel is an important instrument of economic development and mutual understanding.

• Adopt as policy that the citizens of the United States should be free to travel the globe without
artificial restrictions placed on them by their own government.

• Promote the benefits of unfettered travel for U.S. citizens as a matter of national policy.

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