Last week, Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-8) sat down with 16 travel and tourism leaders from Wisconsin at the Lodge Kohler in Green Bay to discuss policies affecting the industry. In a meeting led by Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Sarah Klavas, and President of the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau Brad Toll, the group reviewed a broad variety of topics.
The industry leaders gathered began the meeting by updating the Congressmen on the J-1 Visa Program. Industry representatives emphasized the importance of the program to the tourism and travel sector, highlighting how devastating a cutback would be for the district—specifically Door County. The Congressman expressed his concern and interest in helping on the issue.
The conversation then progressed to immigration. Members of the group spoke about the importance of sending a welcoming message to potential travelers as well as the different ways that immigration policies affect their companies. After remarks from the group, the Congressman updated attendees on national efforts for border security and noted that he hoped that it moved quickly, so policymakers could progress towards a “rational conversation on immigration.”
Next, the group began to discuss the importance of Brand USA. Mr. Toll highlighted the group’s local focus by showing the Congressman a photo, from a recent Brand USA publication, of the Green Bay Packers. Collectively, the group then discussed what international tourism means to the area and how to increase international visitation. The Congressman touched on the importance of local infrastructure to increase tourism. Finally, the Congressman pledged to be a partner with the industry on issues moving forward, and agreed to join the House Travel and Tourism Caucus.
We thank Congressman Gallagher for attending this roundtable, and for his support of the travel and tourism industry.