Optimism about prospects for the return of travel from Covid-19 has been voiced by a US industry leader.

US Travel Association president and chief executive Roger Dow acknowledged the hardships the pandemic has inflicted on travel and as a fundamental part of American life during an annual state of the travel industry address.

The pandemic caused the loss of 4.5 million jobs across the US industry alone by the end of last year.

However, Dow said: “Our goal is not simply to recover what we’ve lost, but to rebuild an industry that’s even better positioned than before the crisis – one that’s more globally competitive, more innovative and more unified.”

He added: “Travel has spurred economic recovery before. We saw it after 9/11, following the 2008 financial crisis, after the BP oil spill, after devastating multiple natural disasters.

“But this is our toughest challenge yet. Some predict it will take five years to recover from the pandemic. That’s far too long.”

Dow pointed to a policy platform put forward by the organisation, outlining priorities for the next four years to help accelerate travel recovery in an effort to restore millions of lost jobs and revive the US economy as a whole.

Proposals fall into five categories:

  • Economic recovery
  • Investing in infrastructure and the future of mobility
  • Increasing global competitiveness
  • Reimagining air travel, and
  • Streamlining travel and security facilitation.

Dow added: “Travel defines the American spirit. It inspires our sense of adventure, brings forth our welcoming nature, fulfils our aspirations to connect with the world – and with each other.

“That is a legacy we should not only be proud of … it is a foundation we can build on.”