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(Washington, D.C.) – With this week marking National Travel and Tourism Week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor today to highlight New Hampshire’s new tourism campaign and invite more Americans to visit the Granite State. She also spoke about the importance of travel and tourism to New Hampshire’s economy.

For video of Shaheen’s remarks, please click here.

Below are Shaheen’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery.

Mr. President,

With the weather warming, families across the country are getting excited about their summer vacations, and travelers from overseas will soon be coming to the United States to experience our cities and national treasures. Travel season will soon be in full swing.

This week, we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week – a time to call attention to the importance travel and tourism play in our economy and the creation of jobs.  The travel and tourism industry is one of the top 10 industries in 48 states, and it supports over 14 million American jobs.  In New Hampshire, travel and tourism is our second largest industry and it supports over 60,000 jobs. 

The Travel Promotion Act, which I cosponsored and Congress passed in 2010, is a landmark law that will help the United States compete for foreign travelers.  This year, we will start to see the impact of this legislation.

For most of our history, the United States was one of only a few developed countries that didn’t advertise overseas.  The Travel Promotion Act created Brand USA, a low-cost public private partnership that has just started rolling out an advertising campaign for America.  Brand USA will leverage millions of dollars in contributions to the private sector to help encourage more foreign travelers to bring their dollars to the United States.

But there’s more that we can do working together to support the travel sector.  Travel and tourism rely on good infrastructure – keeping our highways, bridges, and airports running is essential for the travel industry to grow.  That’s why it’s critical that we pass a surface transportation bill this Congress.

We also need to look at ways to improve our visa system so that we make it easier for foreign travelers to come to the United States.  I’ve cosponsored several pieces of legislation, including the recently introduced JOLT Act, that will help us clear backlogs of visa applications.  I hope the Senate will advance this legislation this year.

Mr. President, I’d like to conclude by highlighting an exciting new campaign that will help build New Hampshire’s reputation as a world class travel destination with something to offer everyone.

Just a few days ago, our State Division of Travel and Tourism Development launched a new campaign to promote New Hampshire as a unique travel destination and to show the world what New Hampshire has to offer. 

When people think of New Hampshire, they often think of our unique state slogan, “Live Free or Die.”  The campaign cleverly plays on that famous slogan.

As you can see here, this advertisement shows New Hampshire as a great place to “live free and explore.”

Here, we can see a family canoeing together on one of our many beautiful lakes.

Our mountains, lakes, and state parks provide the perfect backdrop for travelers looking to relax and enjoy the outdoors.  People who come to New Hampshire can enjoy relaxing activities like skiing, canoeing, and biking in New Hampshire’s scenic landscapes.

It’s also an ideal choice for a family vacation, thanks to the diversity of options for families and the ability to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.  Our scenic landscapes and foliage provide a beautiful environment for families to spend time together.

The travel and hospitality industry in New Hampshire is very excited about this new campaign.  Much like Brand USA, the State’s travel division worked hand in hand with industry to further develop a successful brand for New Hampshire.

Now, many of my colleagues have been to New Hampshire to experience the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.  We are very proud of that event, and we invite you to come back again in four years!  But New Hampshire has a lot more to offer, and I encourage my colleagues to visit New Hampshire to enjoy the natural beauty and activities we have to offer.

I understand that we all have busy schedules and that finding time to travel can be difficult.  Fortunately, soon there will be a great opportunity to experience what New Hampshire has to offer without leaving the building!  On June 6th, the New Hampshire State Society and my office will host a reception called “Experience New Hampshire.”  This is a great opportunity to experience New Hampshire’s signature hospitality, history, culture, and scenic beauty.  I invite my colleagues to enjoy New Hampshire beverages and tasting menus from our historic grand hotels and charming inns.

As we celebrate travel and tourism this week, I hope my colleagues will take a few moments to reflect on the importance of the travel and tourism industry to our state and local economies and to the country.

Thank you, Mr. President.