“As the association community depends on a viable travel and tourism industry and vice versa, ASAE supports advancing domestic and international travel initiatives that balance the need for homeland security with the business needs of associations. ASAE also acknowledges the particular needs of the meetings industry and understands the importance of sustaining fundamental relationships when negotiating, developing and executing events.” – ASAE Board Approved Position Statement #10
Visit U.S. Coalition
In January 2018, ASAE joined the U.S. Travel Association and other pro-travel groups to launch the Visit U.S. Coalition, whose aim is to work with the administration to reverse the decline in international travel to the U.S. Research prepared by U.S. Travel shows that while global travel increased 7.9 percent from 2015 to 2017, the U.S. market share fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent over the same period. That decline in international travel resulted in a loss of $32.2 billion in visitor spending and 100,000 hospitality jobs.
The Visit U.S. Coalition will work to advance policy recommendations aimed at reversing the decline in inbound travel to the U.S. Other founding members include the American Gaming Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Society of Independent Show Organizers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Federal Employee Travel to Conferences and Meetings
ASAE continues to see perceptions trending toward the positive on this important issue. In late 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) relaxed guidelines on federal employee attendance at conferences. This update provides many of the process changes that members of the association community have requested since 2012. ASAE and the association community support changes to agency guidance that reduce the paperwork requirements for agency travel and attendance at association conferences.
In 2017, then OMB Director Mick Mulvaney issued a memo to federal agencies proposing to roll back the M-12-12 memo. While Director Mulvaney was not successful in rolling back the memo, it shows interest by the administration to reduce unnecessary barriers to meaningful travel.
While we have seen progress in terms of senior government officials and lawmakers recognizing the value of meetings, we will need to continue to emphasize and cultivate this understanding with the Trump administration.
ASAE is also part of the Visit U.S. Coalition, which was formed in 2018 to advance policy recommendations aimed at reversing the decline in inbound travel to the U.S. Research prepared by the U.S. Travel Association shows that while global travel has increased 7.9 percent from 2015 to 2017, the U.S. market share has fallen from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent over the same period. That decline in international travel has resulted in a loss of $32.2 billion in visitor spending and 100,000 hospitality jobs. ASAE joined the coalition out of concern that the Trump administration’s travel ban and stricter visa vetting procedures were discouraging international visitors from coming to the U.S. to attend association meetings and conferences.
ASAE’s position on travel has been consistent: we understand and support the need for strong screening processes, but we do not want to make it so difficult to enter the country that we discourage international visitors from traveling to the U.S.