The series of global terror attacks in recent times call for the world to be connected now more than ever.
U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow, speaking at the IPW convention in New Orleans on Tuesday morning (June 21), addressed the horrifying tragedies that plagued Orlando in the past week.
On June 12, a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub. Two days earlier, pop singer Christina Grimmie was shot while signing autographs. She died early on June 11.
"There are scary things going on in the world that sometimes make us think twice about going about our daily lives, including travel.
"If you take one thing away from my remarks today, it’s that this country needs to stay open and stay connected," he told a packed press conference.
If anything, the revelry of the annual IPW – a behemoth international gathering of travel buyers and sellers in the US – this year is toned down by the recent Orlando gun crimes.
Audiences could be seen wiping away tears at a video tribute during a luncheon hosted by Brand USA yesterday. Meanwhile, Visit Orlando called off a press conference slated for Wednesday morning.
But the series of bad news should not deter travellers from travelling, said Dow.
"Our industry, this country and the entire world have been tested by similar scary stories," he said, referring to the terror attacks in San Bernardino, Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, Beirut and Istanbul.
"But it’s impossible to insulate ourselves from risk. We must not retreat out of fear, but instead stay open, and stay connected," Dow said.
The U.S. Travel Association, according to Dow, will carry on with its mission to increase travel to and within the US.
"America is not a fortress and it should not be. It would be dangerous and costly to try to cut ourselves off from the world.
"We stand our best chance to achieve security and prosperity when travellers, and indeed all of us, choose freedom over fear."