Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Angus King (I-Maine), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) recently introduced the bipartisan Visit America Act to support the travel and tourism industry. This bill would authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and create an assistant secretary position within the Department of Commerce focused on bolstering America’s travel and tourism industry and coordinating a strategy across multiple federal agencies by establishing annual goals and recommendations. The legislation would also require the development and implementation of a recovery strategy to assist the travel and tourism industry to quickly recover from the COVID–19 pandemic.
“Las Vegas is a world-class travel destination, as are so many of Nevada’s stunning landscapes,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “I’m co-leading on the bipartisan Visit America Act to make sure our government is doing everything it can to revitalize our country’s tourism and travel industry in the wake of the pandemic. I’ll continue to work in the Senate to strengthen Nevada’s vibrant hospitality industry and support its many important workers.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged all aspects of the tourism and hospitality industry, a crucial sector that supports our economy and thousands of good-paying jobs in Alaska,” said Sen. Sullivan. “Fortunately, against great odds, we were able to salvage a portion of Alaska’s crucial 2021 summer cruise ship season. We want to build on that success with a thorough federal strategy to rebuild U.S. tourism at a time when Americans and travelers around the world are eager to get out of lockdowns and see this great country again. I’m glad to launch the Visit America Act with my colleagues to better position the travel industry for a strong rebound with ambitious visitation goals, requirements for a whole-of-government recovery strategy, and a high-level tourism official in the federal government for the first time ever.”
“Each year, millions of visitors flock to Vacationland for a taste of The Way Life Should Be, as families are just a day’s drive or a quick flight away from sites that deliver lifelong memories without straining household budgets,” said Sen. King, chairman of the National Parks Subcommittee. “From our picturesque coastline to our lush forests and awe-inspiring mountains, there is something for everyone in Maine – which is why many small businesses throughout Maine have built their business models around the busy summer season. However, the coronavirus pandemic’s effects showed us just how vulnerable these businesses are to sudden shifts in consumer demand. In order to support the tourism industry and speed our economic recovery from the pandemic, we need to redouble our work to boost this vital part of our national economy. This legislation will unite a variety of government efforts under one federal office and one leader, strengthening our efforts to help the tourism industry grow and thrive.”
As a co-lead of the Senate Tourism Caucus, Senator Cortez Masto has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to support the travel and tourism industry, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. She introduced the bipartisan STEP Act earlier this year to provide economic support for organizations involved in promoting and hosting tourism, travel, or other special events. During COVID-19, Cortez Masto also delivered billions of dollars to the state’s businesses and secured flexibility for the gaming industry. Throughout negotiations for the American Rescue Plan, Cortez Masto called for and secured $750 million in funding for the Economic Development Administration to help states like Nevada that have been impacted by revenue loss in the tourism and travel industry. In addition, she secured critical tax credits for Nevada’s hospitality and tourism businesses. Cortez Masto also led efforts to secure reauthorization of BrandUSA, a vital tourism promotion program that will help boost Nevada’s international tourism industry.