CEO’s from corporations in the travel industry met on March 28 in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Travel Association’s CEO Roundtable, a bi-annual meeting to discuss industry issues and national policy initiatives.
Avis Budget Group Inc. President Thomas M. Gartland attended the meeting along with National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car Executive Vice President and Enterprise Holdings Chief Strategy Officer Greg Stubblefield.
During their meeting with senior Obama Administration officials in the White House, the CEO’s urged policies and initiatives that would further economic growth and job creation in the nation’s $1.9 trillion travel industry. Additionally, they showed support for President Obama’s national travel and tourism strategy.
“We strongly urge the Administration to work with the House and Senate leadership to schedule a vote on the bipartisan JOLT Act, which expands the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and codifies a two-week standard for processing nonimmigrant visas,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
Earlier this year Obama issued an Executive Order to expand the VWP in order to increase nonimmigrant visa processing capacity from China and Brazil by 40%in 2012 and ensure that 80%of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of receipt of application — all in effort to boost travel, spending and American jobs.
“President Obama’s call for a national travel and tourism strategy was one of the most significant developments for our industry in the past decade,” Dow said. “The travel industry has the ability — and stands ready — to quickly hire many of the unemployed workers in our country, but to do that we must have policies in place that increase travel to and within the United States. This Administration and most in Congress understand that, and we look forward to bipartisan support for legislation that supports America’s travel industry.”
The ride-hailing company says weakening the standards will hurt its business, as it needs automakers to produce fuel efficient vehicles en masse.