Representatives of the U.S. Travel Association delivered an assessment and vision for the travel industry in an annual “State of the Travel Industry” address in Washington, DC, this week.

U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow said the industry has “made a lot of progress” in rebounding from the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic but said more than 7 percent of hospitality jobs remain lost and business travel and international travel is still down significantly from pre-pandemic levels. Dow said economists estimate that domestic business travel and international inbound travel will not fully recover until 2024.

Dow said the industry needs assistance from Congress in the short-term, including passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act, which would provide emergency relief funding to the U.S. destination marketing organization. U.S. Travel is also working with Congress and the administration to fill leisure and hospitality jobs and is pressing for a higher cap on work visas and advocating for faster visa processing times for low-risk applicants.

Dow also urged business leaders to reinvigorate the meetings industry. “Meetings can – and are – being done safely and we urge the business community to come back together again,” Dow said. “I think we will bounce back quickly but it will depend on others doing their part.”