Travel, Tourism and Restaurants: Overview

Travel and tourism is closely tied to the success of restaurants and essential to the economy and American jobs. About one in four restaurant-industry sales dollars is directly related to travel and tourism. The effect is most significant in the fine-dining sector, where travel and tourism drives about 30 percent of sales. Quickservice restaurants generate an estimated 19 percent of their sales through travel and tourism, and fast-casual restaurants derive about 15 percent.

As the U.S.'s second-largest private-sector employer, and the nation's second-largest creator of summer jobs, restaurants rely heavily on increased travel and tourism during the summer months. In a typical summer travel season, restaurants add more than 500,000 jobs nationwide. In some states with popular tourist destinations, restaurant employment is more than 15 percent higher during the summer months than at any other time of the year.

Our Position

We need to ensure that our restaurants and the U.S. economy as a whole continue to reap the benefits of travel and tourism. We support policies that promote legitimate international travel, including programs such as Brand USA and the Secure Travel Partnership Program.

Reauthorize Brand USA:

  • Congress can do its part to draw international tourists to the United States by continuing to reauthorize Brand USA, the first program to promote the U.S. as an international tourist destination. Brand USA is funded by a fee assessed on international traveler (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA), at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. The increased tourism it brings translates into more business for restaurants, hotels, and other retailers, which in turn generates millions of jobs.

Support the Secure Travel Partnership Program:

  • We support the Secure Travel Partnership Program, to increase international travel and boost the U.S. economy by expanding and enhancing the Visa Waiver Program, which facilitates entry to the U.S. for millions of prescreened international travelers. The STPP, which is similar to the formerly named JOLT Act, will strengthen security, grow our economy, create American jobs and improve our relationship with trusted allies.
  • The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens from qualified countries to travel to the U.S. for business or leisure for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Currently, there are 38 countries in the program. An increase in participants will contribute to an increase in business for restaurant, hotels, and other retailers.