Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association, is among the travel and tourism industry leaders expressing willingness to help U.S. President-elect Barack Obama understand the industry’s importance to economic recovery.

In a statement released November 5, Dow said, “The [travel] industry employs one out of every eight U.S. workers, drives more than $700 billion in spending, and is a major economic force in each of the 50 states. The small- and medium-sized businesses that make up more than 90 percent of America's travel community can trigger the kind of bottom-up economic growth and job creation that will put this economy back on track.” He added that his organization’s agenda includes “modernizing America's infrastructure and travel processes, creating jobs, and improving the nation's energy security. We look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama to achieve these goals and build a stronger America."

TIA has lots of company in this regard: More than 20 travel and tourism leaders are planning to meet December 16 in Washington, D.C., according to the National Tour Association, which is organizing the meeting. The intent of the meeting is to come up with specific ways in which the industry can help stimulate the economy. Participants are being asked to develop ideas and share them ahead of the December meeting, when they will be solidified into actionable items to present to the new U.S. administration. According to NTA officials, several meetings industry organizations have been invited to participate.

“We believe it is critical to equip President-elect Obama and his administration with the ways in which travel can fuel the U.S. economy,” said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP. “We know that travel and tourism is a way to quickly inject new jobs, new income, and new tax revenues into our national economy. We simply need a unified plan to make it happen.”

If the upcoming administration tapped you for advice on how the meetings business could help turn the economy around, what would you suggest? Please leave a comment below, or e-mail Sue Pelletier at spelletier@meetingsnet.com.