We advocate for nearly 70,000 travelers who support travel fairness, competition and transparency.
Travel Fairness Now advocates for more than 70,000 consumers who have asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to support greater transparency in travel. We support policies that:
- Promote competition among travel suppliers
- Ensure transparency in travel
- Preserve fairness for travelers
We partner with a variety of organizations that support our goals and have earned the endorsement of leading consumer, business and travel trade advocacy organizations.
RESTORING TRAVELERS’ RIGHTS BY PROVIDING STAKEHOLDER BALANCE WITH LAWMAKERS AND REGULATORS
BALANCING THE SCALES TO ENSURE RELIEF, STIMULUS AND THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL REFLECTS THE NEEDS OF CONSUMERS
A global pandemic has changed the way we work, socialize, research and conduct travel, and the approach to regulating travel needs to change as well. Consumers, not big business, need to be the priority.
Recovery will require information, a rebuilding of the travel experience, a restoration of traveler confidence, transparency of data – especially related regarding safety and security – and what countries and industry are doing to meet these goals.
Americans who travel are more than consumers of transportation. A macro view of travel leads to greater durations and a broader scope of services. From visiting family to meeting with a current or prospective customer, to exploring different areas of the world, mobility has many distinct aspects and economic drivers.
The travel and tourism industry is a large ecosystem of different business models including transportation, accommodations, food and beverage, entertainment and connected services to provide financial and marketing services to travelers. All of these stakeholders contribute to the mosaic of the travel experience. The relationship between the stakeholders is complementary and symbiotic but the focus on recovery and how to ensure confidence for travelers moving forward demands a consumer-centric approach with consumers having first-among-equals parity among other stakeholders and a more sophisticated U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) understanding of how travel works today and related consumer needs.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates international tourism will be down 80 percent in 2020 upon final analysis, with pre-crisis levels not to return until 2023. While the numbers are staggering, a full return to travel and tourism is necessary as it represents over 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), and over 300 million jobs.
In order to truly recover and protect travelers, we must support and enhance transportation but more importantly, we must fully consider the entire, wholistic travel and tourism experience. Governments will have to engage in a deeper, more expansive view – with the American consumer at the center of it – of what relief and recovery truly means and will need to listen to the different stakeholders that protect and inform consumers and help drive the global economy. It may require a cross-agency approach involving multiple parts of government. The recovery of the travel industry will especially require a “whole-of-government” approach.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has an opportunity to reshape the paradigm that almost exclusively protects airlines absent a broader view of the travel and tourism ecosystem that fuels transportation. The scales are tipped so far in favor of not just business, but one single big business within the larger travel and tourism ecosystem, that the entire global ecosystem is harmed – including the airlines themselves. A tragic global pandemic made this view even clearer. DOT’s prior overwhelming deference to the airline industry must be balanced by support of consumers’ needs for fairness, affordability, competition, fair business practices, information, choice, and cooperation and protection of the travel and tourism industry, not simply one form of transportation.
Only through creating a level playing field will the American people get the government they deserve and want, and restore the health of the entire travel ecosystem itself. While the views of all stakeholders must be considered, American taxpayers pay the cost of DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and expect those governments agencies to be looking out for them, first and foremost. Americans are rightfully upset to be hit with surprise fees and inflexible policies from the same companies that are receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded aid.
There are a wealth of opportunities to begin to restore balance, make consumers the priority, and equalize the scales among stakeholders.