June 08, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to introduce the Visit America Act, which would set a visitation goal of 116 million annual international travelers to the United States by 2028, formally authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and create a high-ranking position within the Department of Commerce focused on bolstering America’s travel and tourism industry and coordinating a tourism strategy across multiple federal agencies. The legislation would also require the development and implementation of a recovery strategy to assist the travel and tourism industry to quickly recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“From the coasts to the forests to the mountains, Maine’s unparalleled beauty never disappoints – which is why every year, millions of people from across the globe travel to our state to experience The Way Life Should Be. However, this year the coronavirus pandemic is forcing Maine people to answer a serious question: what happens to Vacationland when all the usual visitors stay home?” said Senator King, Ranking member of the National Parks Subcommittee. “Tourism is vital to Maine’s economy – especially during the summer season – and the impacts of this year’s reduced travel will be felt for years to come. We need a forceful response to support the tourism industry and the communities that rely on it, and I’ll keep working with Senators Sullivan and Schatz to make sure we help this vital piece of our national economy not only rebound, but grow and thrive.”
Senator King has fought to support Maine’s tourism industry and related economic sectors both prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Senator King’s legislation to improve the Paycheck Protection Program was signed into law, providing Maine businesses with additional flexibility as they continue to navigate the challenges of the coronavirus. He is a lead sponsor of the Restore Our Parks Act, which is likely to see Senate consideration this week and aims to address the maintenance backlog at national parks. The legislation would directly support 40,300 jobs and indirectly support 100,100 jobs over the next five years according to a recent study by the National Parks Service. Additionally, Senator King has cosponsored legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism across the country through marketing campaigns that promote international travel to the United States. That legislation was signed into law in December 2019.