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Gaston County Celebrates the 'Future of Travel' during National Travel and Tourism Week 2022

Updated: May 13, 2022


May 1-7, 2022

Spotlights the collective strength of the US travel industry


BELMONT, NC -National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW}, the annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight the critical role that travel will play in driving economic growth and building the path forward through the theme Future of Travel.

This year's theme elevates how the travel industry can restore the workforce, help communities recover, foster sustainability, usher in new innovations and reconnect travelers in the U.S. and around the world.

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 39th annual NTTW (May 1-7) arrives as the industry looks ahead to future growth and success following the challenges of the past two years.

"NTTW has special significance this year as the travel industry looks ahead to a bright future," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "This NTTW is an opportunity to recognize the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry and how we are rebuilding to be more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and inclusive in the months and years to come.


"Before the pandemic, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.-evidence of the outsized role the industry will play in driving America's recovery and future economic growth," added Dow.

Celebrating travel's promising future

Gaston County Tourism Development is celebrating travel's promising future by requesting Gaston County Commissioners issue a proclamation recognizing May 1-7, 2022 as National Tourism Week, hosting "Celebrate the Outdoors Night" at the Gastonia Honey Hunters on Saturday, April 30th and by partnering with our NC State Welcome Centers on 1-77 in Charlotte and on 1-85 in Kings Mountain on Thursday, May 5th and Friday, May 6th respectively.






Meet us at these two NC Welcome Centers May 5th and 6th 2022


Gaston County Tourism will be at these two welcome centers this week to celebrate National Tourism Week. Come hang out with us! We will have some great giveaways including t-shirts of our new mascot, Gaston. Gaston is a bald eagle and the latest addition to our team as the official mascot for Tourism.






Said Michael Applegate, Director: "Gaston County Tourism Development is planning for a future that that will strengthen Gaston County's tourism industry and economy. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we are spotlighting how travel benefits our workforce, supports our local economy, fosters sustainability and innovations, and reconnects Americans to each other and the world."


The Future of Travel

The 39th annual NTTW recognizes the Future of Travel and the critical role our industry will play in rebuilding the workforce, helping communities recover, fostering sustainability, ushering in new innovations and reconnecting travelers in the U.S. and around the world.


Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, the travel industry was a powerful economic engine, supporting jobs and driving local economies in every pocket of America. Travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.

While the industry was hit hard by the challenges of the past two years, we are recovering and positioning our industry for a return to growth. There is great optimism among American travelers to get back on the road and see our great country.


We have overcome many obstacles, and the future is bright.

That's why here in Gaston County and across America, we are using NTTW to recognize the contributions of the U.S. travel industry and how we will grow a more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and inclusive future. While the pandemic was a setback, it's also an opportunity to reimagine the industry to be greater than ever before.


From the Catawba River to Crowders Mountain Gaston County's travel and tourism industry contributes so much to our local economy and the spirit of our community. From all of us at Gaston County Tourism Development, we are excited for all of the promising things ahead for Gaston County and the U.S. travel industry.


Policies for a Better Tomorrow

As Gaston County emerges from the pandemic and welcomes back visitors, it's time to turn the page and look ahead-to imagine a future for Gaston County's travel industry that is bold and imaginative, competitive and helps small businesses thrive.


Gaston County Tourism Development recognizes the Future of Travel and the critical role our industry will play in rebuilding our local economy, fostering sustainability, ushering in new innovations and reconnecting Americans to each other and the world.


It is also an opportunity to remind lawmakers of the incredible value travel holds for America's future growth and success as we move beyond the pandemic.

Travel is such an important part of who we are as a community. Before the pandemic, Gaston County's travel industry generated $292 million in visitor spending annually. Nationally, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S. in 2019-proof that travel will have an outsized role to play in Gaston County's and America's economic recovery.


However, this vital revenue source was severely diminished amid the pandemic.


International inbound travel and business travel remain depressed. International travel spending is down 78% from 2019 while business travel spending is down 56%. In Gaston County, we saw overall visitor spending fall 31% to $201 million in 2020.

This uneven recovery within the travel industry will further delay America's overall economic recovery. To help return our industry to sustained growth, it is crucial that lawmakers prioritize policies to facilitate a more prosperous future for the millions of workers whose livelihoods depend on this industry.

The future of travel is sustainable

Gaston County attracts over 800,000 overnight visitors annually, many of whom hike Crowders Mountain and paddle the Catawba River. Protecting these treasures locally-and restoring other sites such as lakes, parks, forests, and other natural attractions-ensures they can be enjoyed for generations to come. Travel and sustainability can complement one another. With the right tools in place, travelers can see and experience our country-and protect it.


The future of travel is innovative

Infrastructure investments in roads, airports, transit and passenger rail are key to making it easier to access destinations and attractions. New transportation technologies like high-speed rail, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and other innovative technologies can improve travel times and attract more visitors to Gaston County.

The future of travel is seamless

While we've all grown accustomed to the ease of virtual meetings, travel and in-person meetings and events should be just as simple. Biometrics, improved baggage checks and ticketing services and other technological advancements make the travel process more secure and efficient. As American workers look to hit the road again, lawmakers should continue to champion these innovations as integral to restarting business travel.

The future of travel is globally competitive

Promoting America as a premier destination for global travelers is more important than ever as we recover from steep losses. Lawmakers should continue to advocate for funding for destination marketing organizations like Gaston County Tourism Development so we can welcome back visitors from near and far.

The pandemic was a setback, but it's also an opportunity to reimagine the travel industry. If lawmakers plan for the future by prioritizing these policies today, businesses in Gaston County can recover more quickly and rebuild the travel industry to be more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and competitive than ever before.


Please visit ustravel.org/NTTW to learn more about National Travel and Tourism Week. #FutureOffravel

 

Gaston County Tourism Development

Michael Applegate

Director of Travel & Tourism

Michael.Applegate@gastongov.com

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