Reconnecting with family, friends and co-workers in-person is increasing; the idea of easy, safe international air travel has become a dream; and experiences where inclusivity and diversity thrive remain a driver of our welcoming spirit. We crave a future where travel is once again the heartbeat of our communities and businesses, a future where visitors dive into the real, original sites and attractions that can only be experienced here and in-person.

The Future of Travel is the theme of this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week, May 1-7, and so much about our future is aligned with recreating and improving on the sense of hospitality we enjoyed prior to the start of the economic downturn and its effects on travel and tourism.

The future of travel is facilitating our recovery.
As I’ve shared before, tourism is an essential economic driver for businesses and communities throughout the region, providing thousands of jobs and spurring community growth. Without it, a full recovery and robust growth cannot be possible.

The future of travel is rebuilding our workforce.
Travel, tourism and hospitality are indispensable sources of jobs that fuel the visitor economy in our region. Careers in the travel industry span a variety of interests, promote cultural exchange and are critical to the communities we live in. These careers are rewarding for the employees and are open to people from all backgrounds. Yesterday’s entry level travel workers are today’s innovative leaders who are entrepreneurial, rising in the ranks and shaping the future of our restaurants, retail outlets, and local attractions.

The future of travel is more inclusive.
Creating a culture of belonging has long been valued by RACVB, a value we solidified with our Welcoming Diversity commitments in 2020. Organizations and industries that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are stronger, more welcoming and more creative. Travel is uniquely positioned to uplift DEI initiatives to power a future that values all cultures, embraces new perspectives and reflects the faces and ideas of our global society.

The future of business travel is seamless, secure and in-person.
Biometrics, improved baggage checking or ticketing services and other technological advancements are making it just as easy to hop on a flight as it is to hop on Zoom. Through best-practice health and safety protocols, convention centers, meeting spaces and event organizers are making it safer and easier for travelers to get back on the road and back to business.

The future of travel is more sustainable.
Our sites and attractions attract hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. Protecting our natural treasures, like our State Parks, County Forest Preserves and other outdoor attractions, ensures a bright future of travel for generations to come.

The future of travel is greater mobility.
Infrastructure investments in roads, airports, transit or passenger rail are key to making it easier to access destinations and attractions — near and far. New transportation technologies like highspeed rail, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles can improve travel times and sustainably transport more visitors to our destination.

The future of travel is more globally competitive.
Promoting America and Rockford as a premier destination for global travelers — leisure and business — is more important than ever as we recover from steep losses. The future of travel is connecting the U.S. with the global community and safely and securely welcoming back international travelers.

As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week 2022, please follow us on our gorockford social media and like, comment and share to help us spread the word on the #FutureOfTourism.