NEW YORK -- The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), an organization representing the interests of travel companies, urged the Trump administration to acknowledge the strength of travel, citing new figures indicating that the U.S. travel industry generates six times as many jobs as the automotive industry.

WTTC's figures show that travel and tourism sustain 5.5 million direct jobs, more than seven times as many jobs as the mining sector (711,000 jobs), to which President Donald Trump has publicly lent support. However, the Trump administration's proposed 2018 budget would eliminate Brand USA funding, the nation's public-private marketing organization.

On the job front, the travel sector also beat out banking (2.7 million jobs), automotive (987,000), agriculture (2.9 million) and chemicals manufacturing (851,000).

"We urge the U.S. administration to acknowledge the strength of these figures and to adjust their current predominantly inward-facing strategy, which seems to be restricting growth in the travel and tourism sector," said WTTC CEO David Scowsill.

WTTC specifically requested that the administration change policy proposals such as the travel ban on nationals of six countries in the Middle East and Africa, and eliminating Brand USA's funding.

However, the travel ban proposal doesn't appear to be deterring inbound travel, according to the U.S. Travel Association. In April, international travel to the U.S. grew 4%, said U.S. Travel, which also cautioned that one month does not a trend make, and that a welcoming message would help keep travelers coming.

WTTC found that forecasted GDP from travel and tourism beats the rest of the economy, with expected annual average growth of 3.3% over the next decade, versus 2.7% for the rest of the economy. The mining and automotive sectors are forecasted to grow 0.4% and 1.2% per annum, respectively, the study found.

"There is a lot to gain from the growth of travel and tourism, but this can only be done if the government embraces the importance of the sector and works toward policies that are favorable for the sector to grow," Scowsill said. 

Speaking to reporters in New York, Scowsill said that he has faith that Trump understands the importance of travel to the economy.

"The great thing about the president is he comes from our industry," Scowsill said. "He ran an airline, and with all his leisure and golfing and hotel interests, he really does understand this industry and that it generates jobs and generates American jobs. And that's what we have to cling onto. So, if we can get the administration to just to quite clearly say, 'This country is open for business', that's all they need to say."  

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