Mayor Hannemann addresses travel industry needs at national forum

PALM BEACH, Florida (KHNL) - Mayor Mufi Hannemann joined more than 40 mayors from key cities around the country to discuss the U.S. economy at a national mayors' forum in Palm Beach, Florida.

Mayor Hannemann is Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports.  He and other mayors urge that the next American president make support for the industry a high priority.

"The nation's arts and tourism activities are an important component of our national economy," Mayor Hannemann said at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' National Action Forum on Air Travel, Tourism and the Arts.  "Protecting our nation must remain paramount, but a better balance is needed between homeland security and economic vitality."

According to the Air Transport Association, the airline industry generated $172 billion in revenues in 2007, an amount that equal to 1% of the U.S. gross domestic product.  But increasing jet fuel prices and flight delays have created a crisis with U.S. air travel which caused 12 U.S. airlines to stop operations.

The ATA predicts that dozens of U.S. airports will have lost all of at least one airline's scheduled service by the end of 2008, impacting economic growth in the nation's metroplitan areas.

Mayors are urging that existing levels of service be preserved to support economic growth in the metropolitan areas.

Travel and tourism contributes $740 billion in direct expenditures to the national economy each year.

The nation's nonprofit arts and culture industry generates another $166 million in economic activity.