The U.S. Travel Association has responded with optimism to the confirmation of billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross as commerce secretary by a Senate vote of 72 to 27. According to the New York Times, Ross already has been advising President Trump on economic policy and the rewriting of the tax code. U.S. Travel's president and CEO Roger Dow, left, issued the following statement on the announcement:
"The travel community welcomes the Senate's confirmation of Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce. We look forward to working with Secretary Ross on implementing policies that boost America as an attractive, welcoming destination for business and leisure travelers worldwide.
"Travel accounts for over 11 percent of all U.S. exports, thanks to the fact that our country is the top global long-haul travel destination. Maintaining that top spot is crucial to the health of our nation's economy, since travel supports one in nine American jobs, and we are committed to aiding the new commerce leadership in efforts to do so.
"I was particularly heartened by Secretary Ross' remarks during his confirmation hearing, in which he stated he was a 'big proponent' of our Open Skies agreements, voiced support for Brand USA and acknowledged that 'developing tourism is extremely important.' We could not ask for better endorsement of our industry's priorities from the incoming commerce secretary.
"Secretary Ross brings with him a deep understanding of multiple industries tied to the success of our nation's travel sector, and a firm grasp on the economic impact of travel in America. His decades of business experience and longtime focus on creating jobs and increasing U.S. exports aligns perfectly with the goals of the travel industry. We anticipate a continuation of our community's strong working relationship with the Department of Commerce."