U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement upon the passage in Congress yesterday of a continuing budget resolution, including $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding.
"We are greatly relieved that continued funding for a federal Zika response will at long last find its way to the president's desk. I have been continually impressed by both federal and state officials' coordinated response to Zika transmission, but their efforts would have been significantly set back without today's funding. Perception is key, and confusion plus government inaction has the real potential to discourage travel to Zika-affected regions, even when those areas are perfectly safe for the vast majority of visitors - an effect that could have major repercussions for local economies across the nation. The U.S. must demonstrate to the world that it takes the threat of Zika seriously, and the inclusion of Zika funding in this continuing resolution provides the reassurance our citizens and visitors need.
"U.S. Travel, in tandem with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and over 100 travel organizations, has called upon Congress to approve adequate Zika funding multiple times. Additionally, our members have sent hundreds of messages to lawmakers over the past year. We are pleased Congress has listened, and we'll continue to work with lawmakers to ensure that Zika, and its implications for public health as well as our nation's economy, receives the attention it deserves."