International travel highlighted at high-level meeting

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A recent meeting hosted by the Travel Business Roundtable with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce brought together government folks—including Secretary Of State Colin Powell and Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation—and industry leaders to talk about how to both keep the U.S. safe and keep our doors open to travelers from outside the borders.

While it sounds like Powell’s presentation was basically a "we’re with you on this one," feel-good type of thing, Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz pushed for a cabinet-level post for travel and tourism. "His remarks were met with a resounding applause from the audience," says the article on the meeting. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND), Chairman, Senate Democratic Policy Committee also had a concrete agenda: extending the deadline for new biometric passports and the launch of an international travel and tourism promotion.

While folks from hotels, airlines, and other industry segments were optimistic, another terrorism attack could throw us back into turmoil. Also, "Curtis Nelson, President and COO, Carlson Companies, said that the rebound had been phenomenal, but distinguished between leisure travel, which remained quite strong, with business travel, which is the last to see recovery. Robert Crandall, Retired Chairman, President and CEO of AMR Corporation and American Airlines addressed the challenges of the airline industry, which continues to lose money. He also stated his belief that it is wrong to continually pose higher fees and taxes on travelers." To which I say, then cut it out!

While it's nice to hear that some in government understand and care about this industry's issues, I'd like to see a little less talking and a little more action to make what they're talking about happen.

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