Travel Blitz: A Member-Centered Advocacy Campaign

Travel Blitz: A Member-Centered Advocacy Campaign

The U.S. Travel Association is turning to its members to power up its advocacy efforts. The new grassroots program will give members a toolkit to better develop relationships with congressional leaders.

To help its members foster better relationships with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Travel Association announced a year-long “Travel Blitz” advocacy campaign last week.

In order for us to make progress, the message has to come from the travel community across the country.

The association will provide a toolkit that includes talking points, fact sheets, and advice on how to build relationships, as well as information on how to host roundtable discussions and lead behind-the-scenes tours of industry attractions with members of Congress.

“We’re working to make sure that these leaders understand the tremendous economic value travel has on the nation and in [local] districts, but we can’t do it alone and we know that,” U.S. Travel’s vice president of government affairs, Patricia Rojas, said during a press call. “In order for us to make progress, the message has to come from the travel community across the country.”

Candice Knezevic, U.S. Travel’s director of grassroots and industry relations, added that surveys and research have shown that members of Congress prefer to receive information about issues through in-district events and speaking with constituents.

“As an industry, we know that face-to-face meetings are the best way to communicate and get business done,” she said. “The success for this campaign is really dependent on our members, the travel community’s engagement. It’s up to the travel community to really lead this campaign.”

To kick off the campaign, the association helped the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau organize a January roundtable with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and leaders in the travel and tourism industry.

The group discussed issues such as aviation security, travel budget cuts for the General Services Administration, visa waivers to increase foreign tourism, and improving Transportation Security Administration standards.

“From our standpoint it was a big success,” said Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations at the New Orleans CVB. “We had a specific agenda going in, and it was very well received by Senator Vitter, and I think it was very productive. We’re certainly looking forward to doing this with other elected officials for Louisiana.”

U.S. Travel is hosting a webinar on Thursday for members to call in and ask questions about the campaign and learn how to make the most of the tools provided.

“We really want this to be an engaged campaign where we’re working hand-in-hand with the travel community to schedule events in-district and come up with strategies to turn their member of Congress into a champion,” Knezevic said. “We want to make this as interactive a campaign as possible.”

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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