Visit Santa Barbara celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week by meeting with Congressman Salud Carbajal for a Travel Talks event. Thirteen of the Santa Barbara area’s top travel and tourism leaders participated in the roundtable at the Fess Parker Hilton.
The Congressman was able to take a tour of the resort, in order to get a better understanding of the “faces of travel” that help make Santa Barbara a top U.S. destination. As he met resort employees, he noted that he had no idea how many people worked behind the scenes at hotels.
The travel leaders in attendance kicked off the discussion by highlighting the importance of international visitation to the Santa Barbara area. Many noted drop-offs in bookings from European countries for the upcoming peak season, citing the recent executive orders on travel and immigration as the culprit. They emphasized the need to keep the Visa Waiver Program strong, so that Santa Barbara can continue welcoming visitors from top international markets. The Congressman agreed that welcoming legitimate travelers should be among our country’s top priorities.
The Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Airport helped lead the discussion on airport infrastructure, and the Passenger Facility Charge. He noted that some of the airport’s most important modernization projects are funded by PFC revenue, and that raising the cap could do wonders for the airport. The group also touched on Open Skies agreements, and the Congressman appreciated hearing about how preserving Open Skies can protect much-needed travel jobs.
At the end of the discussion, Congressman Carbajal agreed to join the Travel and Tourism Caucus. We’re thankful to Congressman Carbajal for making the tourism industry a priority, and participating in National Travel and Tourism Week!