U.S. Travel News Brief
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U.S. Travel takes lead in response to GSA scandal
from Smart Meetings
When the AIG conference scandal broke in 2009, the U.S. Travel Association was one of the groups that played a key role in defending the meetings industry. Today, the trade group once again is taking the lead following an uproar at the politically potent crossroads where conferences and public money meet. Erik Hansen, U.S. Travel's director of Domestic Policy, has been organizing meetings with individual lawmakers. He spoke with Smart Meetings about U.S. Travel's strategy in addressing the GSA scandal and the potential ramifications for the industry. More
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U.S. Travel commends new visa legislation
from Meetings Focus
The U.S. Travel Association has commended the newly introduced House and Senate versions of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act of 2012. The legislation will create jobs and improve national security through provisions that make long-term reforms to the visa system, improve the entry process and expand the Visa Waiver Program. "The JOLT Act reforms significant difficulties in our current visa and entry process while at the same time increasing safeguards and making it more attractive for millions of people around the world to visit the United States," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. More
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JOLT Act: Congress moving in right direction on visa reform
from The Heritage Foundation
On May 15, the U.S. Congress introduced a revised version of S. 2233, the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act. Written in consultation with the departments of Homeland Security and State, the latest version is an improvement over past legislative proposals for reform. Together with related efforts in the House to reform the U.S. visa processing system, this revised Senate legislation represents a step in the right direction on the part of Congress in getting much-needed visa reform right. With the considerable decline of the U.S. share of global travel during the past decade, it is well past time to reduce unnecessary barriers to issuing visas and facilitating travel to the U.S. More
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Travel South introduces International Showcase!

Increase your international tourism business while EXPERIENCING the Southern U.S. at Travel South International Showcase! Space is limited! Atlanta, GA. November 26-29.

Democratic lawmaker introduces visa waiver bill for Israelis
from The Hill
Israelis no longer would need a visa to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes under legislation introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., just before the House recessed May 18. The bill would add Israel to the list of 36 European and Asian nations that don't require visas for stays of up to 90 days. The bipartisan bill has the support of powerful House Republicans, including Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. More
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G20 tourism ministers approve proposal to help facilitate visas
from Travel Weekly
Will the fourth time be a charm? Tourism ministers from the countries with the 20 largest economies, collectively known as the G20 nations, in mid-May met for the fourth time in as many years and fashioned an appeal to their heads of state to promote visa facilitation as a means of spurring economic growth and creating jobs. The ministers, comprising a subset of the G20 known as the T20, gathered this year with the firm knowledge that their work will be presented to the G20 heads of state. Although they had convened annually three times before, there was barely a hope, let alone an explicit promise, their declarations would be considered when G20 leaders gathered for their annual summit. But in 2012, the stars seem to be aligning for the ministers — and for travel and tourism in general — following strong shows of support for the industry by President Barack Obama and Mexico President Felipe Calderon. More
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TSA wants up to 75 percent of fliers shifted to faster screening
from Bloomberg
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration wants to speed screening for as many as 3 in 4 travelers as it absorbs criticism for procedures that have led to pat-downs of children, seniors and members of Congress. The agency envisions expanding enrollment in its PreCheck expedited screening program beyond frequent fliers selected by airlines, Associate Administrator Doug Hofsass said. The agency would like to have 50 percent to 75 percent of the flying public use PreCheck, with the rest going through traditional, more intensive screening lanes, Hofsass said. More
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Online tools let Americans seek value for summer travels
from Examiner
Travel experts representing a leading worldwide hotel chain, the largest automobile travel club in the country and an association representing the U.S. travel industry are predicting an increase in summer vacation travel. Travelers will be seeking value and likely will moderate their plans to make a vacation fit their budget, especially in light of higher gasoline prices, airfares and lodging costs. The travel industry experts are citing improved consumer confidence and jobs picture, and they say 87 percent of Americans intend to take the same number or more vacations this summer than last year; 18 percent plan to take more trips. More
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Summer forecast: Higher fares, crowded flights
from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Higher air fares aren't keeping millions of travelers from taking to the skies this summer. Fuel costs have driven airlines to push through fare increases, pinching travelers' budgets. Domestic fares are up about 15 percent since 2000, including the addition of fees such as those for checked baggage and reserved seats, according to Airlines for America, a major airline industry group based in Washington, D.C. The group argues the increase is less than the nation's broader inflation rate of 31 percent during the same period. More
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Cheaper gas not enough to boost summer driving
from The Associated Press via msnbc
Cheaper gas won't be enough to get many more Americans on the road this summer. They're still too worried about their jobs and the economy. Economists and tourism experts are expecting only a small uptick in summer travelers. Gas prices are lower, but still high enough to keep some Americans off the road. The job market is improving, but still shaky. And household debt remains high. Those who do travel won't feel free to splurge. The bulk of road trippers, experts say, will take shorter trips and reduce food and entertainment spending to conserve cash. More
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