We are a few days from National Travel and Tourism Week, which begins May 4 and peaks on May 7, National Rally Day. If you're participating in a rally or related event, good.

If not, at least bear in mind that there is such a thing as National Travel and Tourism Week, that it's usually observed during the first week of May, and that if you miss it this year, you can double down in 2014, which will be the 40th anniversary.

Over the years, the U.S. Travel Association and others have taken pains to use this week as an opportunity to educate politicians, business leaders and consumers about the travel industry and its economic impact: the $855 billion in visitor spending that it generates; the $129 billion in tax revenue that it returns to federal and local governments; and the opportunities it creates for employment, investment and community development.

This year, it's a little different. The theme for 2013 is "The Travel Effect," which echoes the theme of U.S. Travel's latest public awareness campaign. The Travel Effect refers to the multiple ways that travel benefits the country, local communities, families and individuals beyond the well-documented economic and employment data.

U.S. Travel's research has shown, for example, that travel benefits children, couples and families in some unexpected ways. Travel is good for you. That's not a bad theme to keep in mind at a time when travel is increasingly encumbered by excessive regulation, security hassles, taxation, congestion and delays.

If nothing else, the theme for next week can remind us that we value travel not merely for its economic side effects, but because of its inherent rewards.
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