EATON — Across the nation, travel and tourism has been in the spotlight during the 34th annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 7-13), which unites communities across the country to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
Banners hanging on Barron and Main Streets in downtown Eaton herald the recognition of the special week.
“This week, we are celebrating what travel means to our community, and we call on everyone — from elected officials to local residents — to join us in saluting this important industry, and to support travel-friendly legislation for our local, state and national economies,” Preble County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau Vice President Leslie Collins said.
The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Faces of Travel,” shines a spotlight on the people that make up America’s travel industry. Across Ohio, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. Some of the numbers:
Travel is a $2.3 trillion industry in the U.S., with $990.3 billion in direct travel-related spending in the U.S. by domestic and international visitors in 2016.
These visitors support 15.3 million American jobs — roughly 8.6 million direct travel jobs, and 6.7 million indirect and induced jobs.
Travel-related spending generated $157.8 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2016.
In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being for residents and visitors of Preble County. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. Using time off to travel with family is good for everyone, especially children.
“Our industry is one that relies on human interaction,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Whether it’s the front desk concierge at a hotel, the tour guide in a city’s historic district, or the CEO of a destination marketing organization, our people are what make America a great place to visit, and keep our economy strong. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re saluting the people behind the travel industry, and calling on our nation’s leaders to prioritize travel-friendly legislation, for the sake of millions of American workers.”
“Preble County’s theme for the week — “Our Home. Your Getaway” — recognizes the area’s rich historic and recreational resources, and invites non-Preble Countians to enjoy our scenic covered bridges, visit our historical societies and festivals, and camp and fish at parks like Hueston Woods State Park — and while here, shop our stores, check out our farmers’ markets and dine at local establishments,” Collins said.