Showing up, they say, is half the battle, and in the meetings industry that requires trains, planes, and automobiles—a travel industry and infrastructure that can get attendees where they need to be with as few headaches as possible. U.S. Travel, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that advocates for travel-industry friendly policies, has come out with its 2018 Distinguished Travel Champion Awards, recognizing members of Congress who are fighting for policies that spur travel to and within the U.S.
The annual honor is presented to four lawmakers, one Democrat and one Republican from the Senate and one Democrat and one Republican from the House of Representatives. This year’s honorees are Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.). Here’s a snapshot of what U.S. Travel says about its honorees.
Sen. Susan Collins:
• Actively involved in efforts to enact meaningful infrastructure investments
• Pushed for an adjustment to the Passenger Facility Charge, an airport user fee, in the Senate's FY2018 transportation funding bill.
Collins would like to see the Passenger Facility Charge, currently $4.50, raised to $8.50 to fund airport infrastructure improvements.
Sen. Mazie Hirono:
• Sponsored the 2017 law permanently authorizing the APEC Business Travel Card program. The program allows expedited entry processing for eligible U.S. citizens doing business in APEC nations.
• Led efforts to expand Global Entry to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Israel.
• In 2014, advocated for the bilateral visa agreement that made 10-year visitor visas available to Chinese citizens for the first time.
• Pushed to expand TSA PreCheck internationally.
Rep. Jared Huffman:
• Played a leading role in crafting key infrastructure legislation during his tenure in Congress.
• Displayed leadership in disaster response and recovery efforts for the Sonoma Valley region, part of his district, helping to fuel an economic rebound for a major U.S. tourism destination.
Rep. David Kustoff:
• Led a congressional sign-on letter urging the Trump administration to protect Open Skies—a successful effort that persuaded the administration to use an existing Department of Transportation process to resolve disputes over the agreements raised by the Big Three U.S. airlines.