Thursday, June 27, 2024

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The US Travel Association hosted a “Travel Works for America” Power Hour on June 18 at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham. About 20 Washington state travel and business leaders attended the event, along with Rick Larsen, ranking member of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The discussion focused on the ongoing positive effects of travel on local economies and businesses.

“Travel is a cornerstone for Bellingham and other communities throughout Washington state and beyond, providing jobs for local workers and boosting the nation’s global competitiveness,” said. Tori Emerson Barnes, US Travel Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy. “We appreciate the opportunity to join Congressman Larson for a discussion about how Congress can further support travel growth in his district and across the United States and applaud his work to help secure a five-year reauthorization for the FAA. Thanks also to the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism leadership for their warm welcome to us for the meeting.”

“Travel works for Bellingham and Whatcom County, attracting more than 3 million visitors annually, generating more than $750 million in visitor spending, and helping to support more than 7,700 jobs,” said. Dylan Dean-Boyle, President and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism (BWCT). “BWCT is proud to host Congressman Rick Larson for an important conversation with our leading tourism stakeholders. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with State of Washington Tourism (SWT) and US Travel on this event and thank Congressman Rick Larsen for his continued investment in this vital industry.”

“Congressman Larson is a travel champion in Washington, DC, and I know I owe him thanks for his leadership for our statewide industry and his work on important initiatives like the enactment of the bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill,” said. David Blandford, CEO, State of Washington Tourism.

Top topics on the agenda include legislative efforts to modernize and enhance travel, such as the recent overhaul of the Federal Aviation Administration. Participants also addressed the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 in Seattle and other cities, the need to reduce long wait times for US visitor visas, and the development of air service in Washington state.

Additional discussions covered Washington’s ferry service, support and education in the hospitality industry, full funding for a new Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism at the US Department of Commerce, and reauthorization of Brand USA, the nation’s official destination marketing organization.

Tags: Air Service Development, Bellingham Whatcom Museum, Brand USA, Federal Aviation Administration, FIFA World Cup 2026, Hospitality Education, Travel and Tourism, Travel Industry News, Travel News, Travel Works for America, US Travel Association, US Visitor Visa, Washington Ferry Service, Washington State Travel

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