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Public Papers - 1991

Remarks to Travel and Tourism Chief Executive Officers


Thank you all very, very much for being here. And I normally don't go around wearing make-up. I want you to know that. But we have a little studio in here, and I've just completed a satellite broadcast out to the West Coast. And I did not want to keep you waiting any more.

But, Bob, thank you very much for being here. Let me salute two that you may have heard from. I don't know whether Mike Boskin and Roger -- Roger Porter, was here and Mike Boskin, I believe. Has he been? They are key players on our team, and I'm glad they've participated. I want to salute John Keller who is sorely missed at the White House. He and I worked together for many, many years, and now he's over there. We're still working together but out of different buildings, and I know he's doing a good job. I want to salute Rock Schnabel and Roger Ballou, the president of American Express Travel Related Services, whom I've just met out here. So, here we go.

I am told that this is perhaps one of, well put it this way, one of the most unprecedented gatherings of travel and tourism executives. And I want to thank you all for taking the time to come here. I wanted to just pop in on this briefing to show support for the extraordinary contributions that your group is making, not only to the industry, travel and tourism industry, but to the economic well-being of our Nation. And it's high time that this industry, travel and tourism, a 7 billion economic powerhouse, received the recognition that it so richly deserves.

Let me just cite some numbers that most of you know, but some around the country don't know. In 1990, international visitors spent more than billion on U.S. tourism and transportation services. We expect a billion increase in 1991. U.S. earnings from tourism are growing faster than our receipts from goods and services as a whole, and this has been the case for over 30 years.

In terms of income generated and jobs created or sustained, tourism is among the top 3 industries in 37 of our 50 States. In 1990, nearly a million Americans owed their livelihood to international visitors. Add to that just over 5 million jobs generated by domestic travel and tourism for a total of nearly 6 million American jobs.

This solid record of growth has not gone unnoticed by small communities and by rural areas facing the challenge to diversify their economies. More and more rural communities are making tourism a part of the economic development options for the nineties. And the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration, along with other Government agencies, are working to put smalltown America on the tourist map.

An example of our administration's commitment to this idea is a Presidential initiative on rural economic development which recognizes that new economic opportunities for rural America will be found primarily in off-farm employment opportunities such as tourism, retirement living, and commercial recreation. As part of that initiative, Federal agencies will provide leadership for educational outreach programs in rural tourism development.

I am also pleased to report that next month USTTA and other Federal agencies will sponsor a nationally televised conference, ``Turn It Around With Tourism,'' in conjunction with, in this instance, the University of Minnesota. This conference is intended to strengthen tourism-related businesses in small towns and in rural communities.

On the international front, this administration has sought to foster liberalized trade and to obtain the adaptation of international rules for the conduct of trade in services, including tourism, as well as encourage trade-related investment.

Several initiatives will have this effect by reducing barriers to tourism services, thereby opening up additional travel markets to companies.

They will also ``lock in'' beneficial conditions for market access in key existing tourism markets. Such an example is the fact that the United States has signed trade addenda with five Eastern European countries, including Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union. And we are currently working on a sixth addendum with Romania. These addenda will ensure that the U.S. travel industry receives the same benefits from agreements with our trading partners as other industries.

Supporting this industry takes the work of everyone, public and private. Our daughter, incidentally, our only daughter, Dorothy, helped me understand this when she worked in the Office of Tourism in the State of Maine. As for me, tough duty though it may be, I continue to do my part for the commercial recreation industry. [Laughter] Fishing, boating, tennis, golf, running, hunting, and all of this. Horseshoes. It's tough duty. Somebody has to do it, and I'm going to keep on. I don't care what they say about it. [Laughter] But seriously, this is a multimillion dollar industry, recreation industry, not to be taken for granted.

But the people who can really get America moving are right here in this room. Working side-by-side, the public and private entities you represent under the slogan of ``GO USA,'' and led by Bill Marriott, have managed to overcome the temporary lag in traveler confidence that was caused by the Persian Gulf war. And today, as we kick off phase two, under the leadership of Jim Robinson, I'm sure this coalition will be enormously successful stimulating travel to and within the United States.

In a moment, I'm going to turn this over to John Keller, the Under Secretary. But let me just simply reiterate my support for the agency, a small agency that is critical to this country's international competitiveness in the global market, and for ``GO USA.'' I look forward to watching this partnership between Government and private sector companies grow and prosper, at home and abroad.

And as for me, although it is not exactly tourism in action, I will be leaving at 9:30 this evening for Madrid. And I might just say one word about that. These are important meetings. This is historic, and I don't want to get peoples' hopes too high because there is a long, long way to go before we have the makings of or have agreement for peace in that troubled corner of the world, the Middle East. But it's worth it. Believe me, it is worth it to reach out, and it is only the United States, it is only our country that can serve as this catalyst for peace. And so, I'm looking forward to this, and I'm hoping that it will be a first step now, this conference, in bringing peace to this part of the world that has suffered too long from war and conflict.

So, thank you again, once again, for all you're doing for this wonderful industry, and thank you for the opportunity just to drop in and say hello. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:26 p.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building. In his remarks, the President referred to: Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher; Michael J. Boskin, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Roger B. Porter, Assistant to the President for Economic and Domestic Policy; John Keller, Under Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism; Rockwell A. Schnabel, Deputy Secretary of Commerce; JW Marriott, Jr., president and chairman of the Marriott Corp.; James D. Robinson III, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express Co.

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