U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on news that president-elect Trump will nominate Rex Tillerson as secretary of state:
"The U.S. Department of State plays a critical role in our country's travel policies, and we look forward to working with Mr. Tillerson upon his confirmation as he leads the agency's efforts.
"Travel is one of America's greatest soft diplomacy tools, since positive people-to-people experiences resonate around the world. Mr. Tillerson will have an excellent opportunity to foster relationships with our allies and create a positive touch point for travelers through smart visa processes. First impressions are important, and when legitimate international visitors have a favorable travel and entry experience, they feel welcomed and connected to the U.S. - and are likely to take that sentiment back to their home country.
"Additionally, as an international businessman, Mr. Tillerson is likely well aware of how advantageous it is for the U.S. to stay connected to the world. As secretary of state, he can strengthen our global position by preserving our nation's Open Skies agreements, which create American jobs by infusing travel dollars into local economies and giving American travelers more options when they fly.
"Finally, travel and security are not mutually exclusive, and the travel community will be a constructive partner to Mr. Tillerson on efforts to secure and streamline our visa processes as demand for travel to America increases. In particular, we stand ready to advise him on the economic and diplomatic benefits of one of our nation's great security tools: the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). When we uphold the security partnerships created under the VWP, we create a safer global ecosystem, which keeps Americans safer at home."