HI-USA Applauds National Travel and Tourism Strategy

Today the Obama Administration released its National Travel and Tourism Strategy.  It’s a huge step forward.  Here’s our public statement:

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CEO announces commitment to elevating student and youth travel

May 10, 2012:  Statement from Russell Hedge, CEO of Hostelling International USA, upon the release of the announcement of a National Travel and Tourism Strategy:

“The National Travel and Tourism Strategy announced today by the Obama  Administration is an important step towards leveraging travel as a cultural, economic and educational force in the United States.  In particular, this Strategy has the potential to widen the numbers of young people who have access to travel, and the educational and social benefits that travel brings.

“Of the 100 million international visitors the Strategy projects to arrive in the U.S. by 2021, youth travelers are a core demographic needing specific focus.  Travel by 18-30-year olds is a large and growing travel segment, making up approximately 20% of all international arrivals worldwide and expected to grow by more than 50% by the year 2020.

“Hostelling International (HI) USA is the nation’s largest student and youth travel accommodations provider and stands ready to work with the Administration in achieving this goal.   As a nonprofit organization, we are focused on using travel to promote understanding and cultural exchange, and we are encouraged to see multiple points of alignment with our mission in the Strategy.

“The HI-USA network includes more than 55 hostels across the United States, which host more than one million overnights annually.  As the US affiliate of the International Youth Hostel Federation, HI-USA has connections with more than 90 countries worldwide.  We look forward to sharing our organizational strength to help reach Strategy goals.”

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Check out our submission to the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.  Our message: youth travelers, ages 18-30, are important envoys for intercultural exchange and their travels pack an economic punch.


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