At a roundtable with industry leaders, the department vowed to “bring all the tools to the table” to overcome obstacles
The US Department of Commerce has pledged to bring “all tools to the table” to allow normal business travel to resume, both domestically and from abroad.
Addressing a roundtable of 11 travel industry leaders, Don Graves, assistant secretary for commerce, pledged the department’s help in overcoming the obstacles that continue to prevent a more robust rebound in travel from ‘business.
Topics of discussion ranged from the correlation between the return of urban office workers and the restart of business travel to ways to attract meetings, conventions and global expositions to the United States, to the differences between meetings and events produced by professionals.
The delegation, led by the US Travel Association, included representatives from several destination management organizations, American Airlines and the flight attendants union.
Roger Dow, CEO of US Travel, said the industry “appreciates the government’s focus on rebuilding business and professional travel and its commitment to restoring this sector of the economy and workforce. ‘American work’.
Total business travel continues to lag, according to the most recent studies. In 2021, US Travel data shows the industry remained at just 47% of 2019 levels. Group meetings and events were just 36% of 2019 levels. According to the latest US travel forecast , the resumption of business travel is not expected before 2024.
Among the measures recommended by US Travel and its Meetings Mean Business Coalition are:
- repeal of pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated incoming international arrivals
- partnering with US destinations and venues to help secure high-value international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits
- the creation of temporary tax incentives to encourage business travel and spending on entertainment services
- H-2B, J-1 and other additional temporary work visas available to meet seasonal labor needs, among others
- restore visa services and take steps to modernize the visa process – including waiving interviews for low-risk renewals, allowing video conferencing, and/or offering group visa processing.