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Letter To The Editor

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Why Sound Travel Policy Matters More Than You Think

Does this election season have you thinking, “I need a vacation”?

Though you may not realize it, you’re actually doing your country a great service if you take one. When you pack your bags and travel, you’re helping to grow local economies; create American jobs; and improve your own work performance, relationships and personal well-being.

That’s why policies that protect and promote travel — from improvements to our roads and airports, to safely keeping America’s doors open to international visitors — are necessary for the health of our country. Right now, we’re working to highlight how important the travel industry is for Anne Arundel County, and making sure that our elected officials, on the campaign trail and off, know it.

Let’s start with travel’s huge role in our national post-recession economy. The U.S. travel industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has recovered far faster than other economic sectors since 2008. Today, travel is a $2.1 trillion industry that supports one out of nine U.S. jobs.

That benefit doesn’t just stay in top tourism hubs like New York, Orlando and Las Vegas; it ripples throughout communities nationwide. Six million annual visitors to Anne Arundel County spend $3.4 billion while they’re here, and they support nearly 30,000 local jobs. Taxes generated by visitor spending save each county taxpayer $405 per year in additional taxes.

Travel also brings remarkable benefits to our personal lives. Multiple research studies have confirmed the positive health effects vacations and time off provide — from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreased depression. According to a U.S. Travel Association “Project: Time Off” survey, most kids (61%) look forward to family vacations as a time to bond with their parents, and kids who travel are more likely to graduate from college and earn an average of $5,000 more annually as adults.

On the work front, most bosses (80%) agree that employees taking vacations yield positive benefits for their team.

Given these returns, and in light of the just concluding National Travel & Tourism Week (it was held May 1–7), it’s important that our elected leaders continue to seek avenues to support and expand travel to and within the United States. And right here in Anne Arundel County.

Travel makes a difference in our communities and lives every day. As we celebrate the impact of travel during National Travel & Tourism Week, thank a visitor for selecting our destination … and remember to take time off.

— Connie Del Signore, president and CEO
Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County