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Voters Looking for Candidates to Address Significant Travel Concerns

November 19, 2007

Voters Looking for Candidates to Address Significant Travel Concerns
Nov. 19, 2007 – On the eve of one of the busiest travel periods of the year, surveys of likely presidential primary voters in two key states reveals that travel issues are of significant importance to the electorate.

Stung by a summer of travel delays and a 17 percent decline in overseas visitation to the U.S. since 9/11, voters in South Carolina and Florida feel the government can do far more to improve the travel system while enhancing security in the process. Moreover, voters are looking for a presidential candidate to make the increasingly difficult travel process a priority on their agenda.

The key findings of four separate surveys — including 300 Republican and 300 Democratic primary voters in both South Carolina and Florida — are:

  • Travel is Critical to Voters: Eight of 10 voters – in both Republican and Democratic primaries in each state – say travel is important to their lives and the lives of their families. In addition, nine of 10 voters in Florida and eight of 10 voters in South Carolina say travel and tourism is important to their state’s economy.
  • Voters Believe Government Can Do Far More: Some 70 percent of those surveyed in both states think it is possible to reduce wait times and still maintain the same level of security at airports. Moreover, a majority of Republicans and 2/3 of Democrats believe that "government could do far more" to improve the travel process. Some 85 percent of respondents believe it is important (60 percent say very important) to develop and implement a newer air traffic control system.
  • Voters Want Candidates To Address Travel Issues: Three-fifths of likely voters in all four surveys feel 2008 presidential candidates have not adequately addressed issues surrounding travel and tourism, and between one-third and one-half in both states would be more likely to vote for a candidate who does.

"Given the importance of travel and tourism in both South Carolina and Florida, there is an opportunity for presidential candidates to capture voters’ attention by focusing on those issues, especially on the federal government’s role in improving our travel system," said Whit Ayres, whose firm Ayres McHenry & Associates conducted the surveys.

The Travel Industry Association, National Tour Association and Travel Business Roundtable are pushing legislation that would create the first-ever substantial U.S. promotion program aimed at international travelers and agree there is a real opportunity for presidential candidates willing to make travel issues a priority. The industry employs millions of Americans and is one of the few industries that generates a trade surplus for the country.

"A large number of voters are looking for a ‘travel candidate,’" said Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Travel Industry Association. "They want a candidate who recognizes that long lines do not make us more secure and that far more can be done to make the travel experience efficient."

"The poll is a clear indication that Americans want dialogue on these important issues," said NTA President Lisa Simon. "NTA is encouraging the 2008 presidential candidates to make travel and tourism part of their platforms and is actively bringing the issues to their attention. Armed with these survey results, NTA will be directly reaching out to the candidates as the primary season unfolds. It is essential that the 2008 candidates recognize Americans fundamental freedom to travel and address safety and security procedures to ensure that this right continues."

Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loews Hotels, said: "At a time of a growing partisanship divide in our country, Democrat and Republican voters agree that the federal government must make travel policy a priority. There is a challenge and an opportunity for the presidential candidates in both parties to respond and address the issues that can strengthen our economy as well as our standing in the world."

The survey was funded by the Travel Industry Association, National Tour Association and Travel Business Roundtable. Each survey was conducted October 24-29 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.66 percent.

Editors Note: Audio playback of the press conference call is available by calling 1-866-439-4554, PIN: 345547#.

### The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. TIA’s mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express. For more information, visit

The Travel Business Roundtable (TBR), a strategic partner to the Travel Industry Association, is a CEO-based organization representing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. TBR’s mission is to educate public officials and policymakers about the important social and economic contributions of the travel and tourism industry. For more information, visit

The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes 600 tour operator companies – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit

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