Gus Bilirakis Will Co-Chair the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus
Around the State
With tourism ranking as one of the foundations of Florida’s economy, it’s only fitting that a congressman from the Sunshine State was named as the co-chairman of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus this week.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., announced on Tuesday that he will join U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., to co-chair the caucus. Bilirakis takes over from former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., who retired from Congress. Farr has helped lead the caucus since 1997.
Farr pointed toward the similarities between his district on the Pacific Ocean and Bilirakis’ on the Gulf, and stressed the importance of tourism and travel to both regions. Tourism and travel generates more than $2 billion a year to Farr’s district.
“Folks living on the Monterey Bay and in the Tampa Bay area know how important tourism is to our local economies,” said Farr. “I look forward to working with Congressman Bilirakis, my good friend and the new co-chair of our caucus, to help other members of Congress understand the benefits of a strong travel and tourism industry in their communities.”
As both congressmen stressed, tourism and travel rank as an essential part of the national economy. With more than $2 trillion in output, travel and tourism remain the nation’s leading export, generating $2.3 billion each day and employing 7.7 million Americans.
In the Sunshine State, tourism and travel ensure almost 1 million Floridians are employed and creates almost $72 billion in revenue across the state.
Established in 1979, the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus works to promote domestic and international tourism, including supporting Brand USA which works to bring visitors from across the globe to visit the United State. A similar caucus was launched in the Senate back in 2011.
Currently, there are almost 100 members in the caucus. Republicans from Florida in the caucus include Bilirakis, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, U.S. Rep. Trey Radel and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Democrats from Florida in the caucus include U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson.
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