In letters to the presidential candidates, Charlie Ball, chairman of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, asked them to discuss tourism, its role in the economy and the candidates' campaigns. He said that during the past eight years, the U.S. economy has taken a $140 billion hit in tourism spending along with hundreds of thousands of jobs because of a decline in travel. USTOA encouraged Barack Obama and John McCain to address issues such as the ongoing airline crisis, the Visa Waiver Program, the Travel Promotion Act and establishment of an executive-level position to focus on travel and tourism.

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