GANYC Goes To Washington

Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) members traveled down to our nation's capitol this week to attend the US Travel Association's annual Destination Capitol Hill event. This 2-day event involves educating both travel professionals on how to make their voices heard, and then a full day of meetings with congressional staff on Capitol Hill on issues important to US travel.

In attendance for GANYC were Kitt Garrett and Patrick Casey representing New York, and Harvey Davidson representing New Jersey.

A major topic discussed was restoring international inbound tourism which is an export and helps money lost through imports and balances trade revenue.  International travel spending was still down 78% from pre-pandemic levels and international visitors spend more money than their domestic counterparts.  

Other topics discussed included: rebuilding the industry workforce by increasing H-2B visas and other measures such as reforming tax deductions to reignite in-person business meetings and events. Also, officials urged attendees to encourage the Biden White House to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound travel to the U.S. for vaccinated travelers, and to allow the federal mandate for masking on transportation to expire, as scheduled, on April 18.

In addition, it was pointed out most of our major competitors for international tourism including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, to name a few, recognize the importance of promoting and managing international tourism and have a Minister of Tourism coordinating this effort. The U.S. does not have a similar position and there has been a proposal by the industry to have the U.S. create an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism reporting directly to the Secretary of the Department of Commerce. The hope would be that such an official would be ocused on working across all government departments to consistently develop strategies that increase travel to the U.S.

Tourism continues its recovery, but has not received the government support commensurate with its economic and cultural impact. We urge all those in the tourism industry to contact their elected representatives and urge them to do their part to support tourism and travel this year.