WASHINGTON – Travel and tourism drive a significant portion of sales throughout the US restaurant industry. As a result, the National Restaurant Association said it is continuing its work to promote policies to welcome more international visitors to the US.

NRA, as a Leadership Committee member, is joining in the re-launch of the “Discover America Partnership,” a coalition of business and hospitality industry leaders united in their efforts to help the US become more competitive in the global travel marketplace. Stakeholders were recently at the National Press Club when the US Travel Association released its new study, “Ready for Takeoff,” which outlines recommended reforms to the US visa system that are designed to create more than one million new jobs and drive economic growth.

“Travel and tourism are significant drivers of sales growth for the restaurant industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “As a leader of the Discover America Partnership, we will work to achieve common-sense reforms that will allow us to welcome millions of new visitors to the US and into our restaurants, the country’s second-largest private-sector employer and an engine of economic growth.”

NRA and its fellow Discover America Partnership members said they will work to advance a smart visa policy as outlined in the Ready for Takeoff report by educating policymakers and opinion leaders on the economic significance of tourism and business travel to the US; highlighting the barriers that prevent the US from maximizing its potential in the global travel market; and presenting high-impact solutions with low or no cost that will enable the US to create hundreds of thousands of sustainable American jobs.

Casual- and family-dining restaurants derive an average of 25 percent of annual sales from travelers and visitors, according to NRA research. The trend is even more prevalent among operators of fine-dining establishments, with an average of 40 percent of revenues coming from travelers and visitors. In the quickservice segment, an average of 15 percent of annual sales come from travelers and visitors.