The U.S. Travel Association honored three members of Congress at its Destination Capitol Hill event in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, awarding Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) the association’s Distinguished Leadership Award and celebrating the efforts of Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) with the Travel Champion Awards.
The accolades celebrate the trio’s “exceptional leadership in advancing and protecting policies that strengthen travel to and within the United States.”
“The voices coming together for this year’s Destination Capitol Hill are vitally important,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “Travel’s recovery has been uneven and we’re not where we should be, namely in terms of business and international inbound travel. Lawmakers can help restore travel and rebuild the good American jobs this industry produced by supporting policies that will boost these critical sectors.”
“Travel supports communities in every region of the U.S. and will be crucial to our nation’s economic recovery,” added Dow. “This year’s Travel Champions and Distinguished Leader have consistently reached across the aisle to advance policies to strengthen the travel industry, bolster its workforce and increase global competitiveness. We honor Senators Blunt and Klobuchar and Congressman LaHood for outstanding support of America’s travel and tourism industry.”
The association hailed Blunt as a “pragmatic leader and a longtime advocate” for the industry, pointing out that he cosponsored the original Travel Promotion Act in 2009 that established Brand USA, the country’s destination marketing organization.
Meanwhile, U.S. Travel called Klobuchar, who serves as co-chair of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus, a “strong champion of the travel industry.” A long-time supporter of Brand USA, she was considered instrumental in cosponsoring and passing the Restoring Brand USA Act which provided $250 million in relief funding.
Finally, the association lauded LaHood as “one of the strongest voices in the U.S. House when it comes to championing the economic power of the travel industry.” LaHood has played a key role throughout the pandemic by helping to advance policies to assist travel’s recovery, including introducing the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act.
Destination Capitol Hill is a legislative fly-in event designed to educate policymakers about the power of travel. The two-day program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking.