Fixing Our Airports, Growing International Travel Are Crucial to Trump’s SOTU Priorities

The travel industry welcomes the president’s attention on the crucial topics of infrastructure, trade and national security—and knows exactly how to help him achieve his goals in these areas.

President Trump’s State of the Union address last night was a call for unity—and the travel industry paid close attention to his remarks on infrastructure, trade and national security.

Since before he was elected, President Trump has spoken of his aim to fix the trade balance and create good jobs at home, something that the travel industry has a long, proven history of doing. He has also spoken frequently of the need for real improvements to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and expressed his support for improving entry security, priorities the travel industry has long shared with the Trump administration. 

The travel community was heartened to hear POTUS reaffirm his commitment to these common goals, and to his benchmarks for future U.S. economic growth. To that end, we know of least two concrete strategies that can help him achieve this growth: fixing our nation’s airports and attracting more international visitors to the U.S. 

First of all, any plan to fix our infrastructure must include one of the country’s most economically powerful travel systems: our expansive network of airports. As we’ve been saying for years—and as the president himself said on the campaign trail—the U.S. does not have a single airport in the world’s top 25. Airports are the heart of commerce, and a critical part of the U.S. travel ecosystem. For serious GDP growth to occur, the administration’s infrastructure package must bring our airports into the 21st century, and set in place funding mechanisms that allow our airports to make needed safety and capacity improvements when they’re needed.

Speaking of economic growth: as the president noted in his remarks last week at the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Davos, now is the time to invest in America. He can ensure other nations do just that by facilitating secure, efficient travel for global visitors, so that they can see for themselves what makes our country great. Growing international travel is key to improving the trade balance, since it is our country’s largest service export, and brings in nearly $250 billion for our economy each year. President Trump has already shown the world that global travel is important to him, demonstrating strength by preserving our Open Skies agreements in the face of enormous pressure. We hope that he continues to prioritize protecting travel while bolstering national security, especially as we work to re-grow our share of the expanding international travel market.

On that front, the Visit U.S. Coalition, launched by a myriad of business leaders across multiple industries, plans to actively assist the Trump administration in crafting policies that make America both the most secure and the most welcoming country for global travelers. We look eagerly forward to working with the president on attracting more international visitors, spurring overseas investment in our country, and ensuring America does not fall behind. 

Growing travel, and ensuring that travelers can get to where they need to go easily and efficiently, is a linchpin of U.S. economic growth. It means 15.3 million un-exportable jobs, $2.3 trillion in economic output, and a path to the middle class for millions of Americans. Travel is crucial to President Trump’s goals for our country, and the travel industry is here to help.