The senior VP of the National Restaurant Association’s research and knowledge group told a House panel that travel and tourism plays a crucial role in restaurant industry growth, including helping the nation’s nearly one million restaurants create jobs.
Hudson Riehle testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Titled “Vacation Nation: How Tourism Benefits Our Economy,” the hearing examined how travel and tourism affects the hospitality industry, including restaurants and hotels.
In his testimony, Riehle highlighted how the restaurant industry is a leading job creator in the U.S. economy – including seasonal employment for peak tourism months – and how spending by travelers and tourists help restaurants drive job creation.
“With more than 13.1 million employees, the nation’s nearly 980,000 restaurants employ about one in 10 working Americans. About half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives, and one in three got their first job in a restaurant,” Riehle says.
“Although many of our members are still dealing with the effects of the Great Recession, last year we added jobs at a 3.4 percent rate – double the 1.7 percent growth rate in the overall economy. We’re on track this year for our 14th consecutive year of outpacing job growth in the overall economy.
“Restaurants are also the nation’s second-largest creator of seasonal jobs during the summer months, with travel and tourism fueling that job creation. In a typical summer season, restaurants will add more than 400,000 jobs. That figure trails only the construction industry.”
Riehle also pointed to tourism’s impact on restaurant sales. National Restaurant Association research shows that roughly one in four industry sales dollars come from travel and tourism.
Riehle voiced the Association supports measures to drive stronger travel and tourism, including reducing barriers to international travel (including the JOLT Act reforms in the Senate immigration bill), stepping up promotion of the United States as an international destination through continued public-private collaboration made possible through the Travel Promotion Act, and increasing business meal deductibility.