On Friday, March 24, 2017, the American Bus Association (ABA) and the Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) sent a joint letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to clarify that the United States is open for business, and to encourage secure foreign travel into the country.
In the letter, ABA and SYTA cite the economic impact of international travel to the U.S.—according to the National Travel and Tourism office, international visitors to the U.S. spent $246 billion on tourism in 2016—as well as cultural exchanges that occur when international travelers visit the U.S.
However, the Executive Order, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.," is having the unintended consequence of deterring travel and tourism—evident by a recent Toronto District School Board ban on trips to the U.S.
"The American Bus Association and the Student & Youth Travel Association understand the Administration's commitment and responsibility to increase our national security. While we support security measures, it is important for the United States to welcome student and adult travelers from all countries. The experience of travel outside one's own immediate environment can expand a person's understanding of people who differ from them and increase empathy for others. It is also essential to reiterate the importance of tour and travel—including foreign travel—to our national economy. ABA and SYTA ask that you reassure our friends at home and abroad that the United States is ready to accept all secure foreign travel into the country."
"ABA and SYTA support US Travel Association's message that, 'However the issue plays out in the legal system, the American travel community believes the Trump administration's visa security efforts should include a clear statement that legitimate international business and leisure travelers remain welcomed and valued by the United States."
To read the full letter, click here.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.