A second term

A fair question this week is whether the re-election of Barack Obama is good for travel or bad for travel.

We were going to attempt an answer in this space, but we owe a debt of gratitude to the U.S. Travel Association for coming up with a fair answer that saved us the trouble.

As U.S. Travel President Roger Dow explained it in a letter to the industry, Obama has made some "unique" commitments to the travel industry. Regardless of one's political persuasion, Dow said it's important to recognize that the Obama administration "gets travel."

For example, the administration strongly supported the Travel Promotion Act, which created the federally supported partnership that is promoting international travel to the U.S. as Brand USA. The administration has also developed a travel and tourism strategy that seeks to leverage the power of travel and tourism to stimulate job growth and economic development.

The administration also made what Dow called "huge strides" in reducing visa processing wait times in important overseas markets such as China and Brazil.

As a result of these commitments, Dow said the industry can "expect President Obama and his administration to vigorously defend the travel-policy accomplishments he achieved in his first term." Deficit hawks in Congress, for example, may be far more willing to pull funding from Brand USA.

We think this is a fair and practical way of looking at things, and it typifies U.S. Travel's long-standing policy of keeping travel above politics and maintaining relationships with leaders of both parties.

Of course there will be challenges on tax policy, deficit reduction, infrastructure spending and a host of other issues than can impact travel.

But recognizing that the Obama administration has a record to defend and build on in its second term seems to us a pragmatic way to approach the next four years, whether you're left or right.
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