Sending Office: Honorable Dina Titus
Support Rejoining the U.N. World Tourism Organization in SFOPS
Deadline: March 11th COB
GOOGLE FORM HERE
Current FY21 Signers: Titus, Bilirakis, Danny Davis, Soto, Castor, Holmes Norton, Rush, Cohen, Kuster, Horsford, Gomez,
Fitzpatrick, Peters, Demings
We invite you to join us in sending a letter to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee calling for the relevant funding for the United States to rejoin the UN World Tourism Organization (the funding required for this is $598,000). The
United States was a founding member of the UNWTO in 1975, but unfortunately, in 1996, the State Department’s Bureau of International Organizations and Affairs withdrew from the organization due primarily to budgetary reasons. The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory
Board, which advises the Secretary of Commerce, made the assessment in August 2019 that it would be beneficial for the U.S. to rejoin the UNWTO, and the President’s budget supports rejoining the UNWTO (see p. 41
here). We hope you will join us in supporting this effort that will benefit the domestic travel and tourism industry and restore a leading role for the U.S. in the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism. The U.S. Travel
Association is supportive of this effort. To sign on, please fill out the
GOOGLE FORM HERE by COB Wednesday, March 11th.
Member of Congress
Gus M. Bilirakis
Member of Congress
Dear Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Rogers,
We write to express our strong support for funding the U.S. contribution to rejoin the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the Fiscal Year 2021 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The UNWTO plays a leading role in the promotion
of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism. The United States was a founding member of the UNWTO in 1975, but unfortunately, in 1996, the State Department’s Bureau of International Organizations and Affairs withdrew from the organization
due primarily to budgetary reasons. Rejoining this body would allow our country to regain representation, build partnerships, and access benefits of this organization to further develop U.S. and international tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive
development, and environmental sustainability.
Travel and tourism are key drivers of the American economy, fueling one in every ten American jobs. According to the U.S. Travel Association, traveler spending in the United States generated $2.5 trillion in economic output in 2018 and supported 15.7 million
jobs. As outlined in the FY2021 Budget Request from the Department of State and USAID, funding U.S. membership in the UNWTO would ensure the organization considers and represents the needs and positions of the United States government and travel and tourism
The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States, made the assessment to Secretary Wilbur Ross in August 2019 that it would be beneficial to rejoin
the UNWTO. The U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board identified four key areas which the United States could benefit from and contribute to as a result of UNWTO membership:
- Global Policy Development—The UNWTO provides resources that help advance sustainable tourism and the management of destination marketing organizations, giving U.S. industry a venue for sharing best practices, participating in trainings and conferences,
and gathering research and data. Rejoining the UNWTO would also give the United States access to UNWTO Academy programs and services to help develop our domestic workforce for the travel and tourism industry.
- Investment and Development in Emerging Markets— The travel and tourism industry is often the first point of entry in establishing business relationships in other countries. Thus, membership would allow us to generate new demand for travel to the United
States as well as help develop new markets for U.S. exports. When done in a sustainable manner, tourism can help promote inclusive economic growth in developing countries. For example, the UNWTO’s Sustainable Tourism- Eliminating Poverty Initiative provides
assistance to tourism-related development projects with a focus on social, economic, and ecological challenges. Rejoining would allow us to promote U.S. values and interests in an organization other countries have utilized to promote their own foreign policy
and economic interests that do not always align with ours.
- Innovation—The UNTWO promotes tourism innovation and digital transformation through start-up competitions, forums, and mentorship opportunities. U.S. membership would provide us with forums for best practices on issues like airport infrastructure and modernization
and provide expanded access to innovation initiatives for small and medium-sized U.S. businesses.
- Combating Sex Trafficking—The U.S. travel and tourism industry has been a leader on anti-sex trafficking efforts. Through U.S. membership in the UNWTO, we could more easily share best practices and expertise with other member countries on combatting sex
trafficking in local travel markets.
Additionally, as outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases continue to occur with greater frequency and the United States evaluates international and domestic policy responses to the 2019 novel coronavirus, it is critical that we use an international platform
to address this global issue. The United States could work through the UNWTO to develop best practices for containment and prevention of contagious diseases in ways that minimize disruptions to global travel during an outbreak.
The funding for this is minimal, but the return on investment would be significant for the United States. Congress should unite on this bipartisan issue to make sure the United States has a seat at the table. We look forward to working with you to help the
United States successfully transition back into the UNWTO. We appreciate your consideration and thank you for your ongoing leadership.
Dina Titus Gus M. Bilirakis
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0