IFA joins travel industry to make recommendations for National Travel and Tourism Strategy

The International Franchise Association today joined several other business groups in the Discover America Partnership asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to take more aggressive steps to boost the U.S.’s share of the international tourism market. IFA is a member of the partnership, with IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira serving on the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association, which runs the partnership on a day-to-day basis.  

“The travel sector, always opportunistic, has continued to generate new jobs even during these difficult economic times,” said comments submitted to the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. If the United States doesn’t get more aggressive in its outreach efforts, however, the nation risks a continued slide in its ability to attract international visitors just as world tourism ramps up.

“Travelers to the U.S. are significant customers for the nearly 825,000 franchised businesses in the U.S., including franchise business categories such as restaurants, hotels, retail products and services, business services and personal services,” said Caldeira. “Boosting travel to the U.S. will create jobs and increase economic output in the $2.1 trillion franchise industry, so what is good for the travel industry, is good for the franchise industry.” 

The comments come in response to President Obama’s recent executive order calling on his Cabinet to develop additional ideas, in partnership with the travel industry, to increase international inbound travel to the United States. These ideas will help form the National Strategy for Travel and Tourism. Specifically, the comments focus on:

  • Improving the visa process;
  • Expanding the Visa Waiver Program;
  • Supporting international travel promotion;
  • Improving the entry experience at our international airports;
  • Increasing student and youth travel to the U.S.;
  • Improving the air travel screening and security process;
  • Accelerating travel-related infrastructure projects;
  • Boosting visitation at national parks;
  • Improving capabilities to assist economic recovery following disasters; and others.

Worldwide travel will grow from 930 million visits to almost 1.3 billion by 2020, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. The partnership called on U.S. government officials to set a goal of recapturing a 17 percent share of the global long-haul international travel market, up from 12 percent today. Sustaining the 17 percent share through 2020 would bring an extra 98 million travelers to the United States.

The comments focused on improving the visa process by making online consular services more user-friendly, implementing mobile interviews for visa applications, and opening additional visa offices in Brazil, China and India. 

The Discover America Partnership web site contains more information about the steps the travel industry is taking to boost tourism in the U.S. 

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications

Virtual Hiring Fair for Veterans


IFA partner Hiring Our Heroes, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will join Monster/Military.com to host a virtual career fair for transitioning servicemembers, veterans, and military spouses from March 27-29.  While veterans from anywhere in the world can attend, NBC’s Today Show this week is highlighting the extraordinary talents of our military community and the great efforts of the employers who hire them. Is your franchise involved? This virtual event will be held in conjunction with career fairs in Chicago, Ft. Hood, and New York City as part of Hiring Our Heroes’ one-year anniversary celebration.  In November, a Veterans Virtual Career Fair drew 14,000 veterans.

Veterans and spouses can use this link after February 24 to register.  Attendance is FREE.

Employers sign-up here. U.S. Chamber members receive a 15% discount.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Reach 100th Veterans Hiring Fair Milestone in Philadelphia

As Mr. Rooter President and VetFran Chair Mary Kennedy Thompson says, “Veterans are good for franchising, and franchising is good for veterans.” But how do you find the vets? Franchisors and franchisees can participate in hiring fairs co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Hero 2 Hired (H2H), an online platform.  It’s all part of the  Veterans Employment Advisory Council effort, of which IFA is a member. The effort will mark its 100th hiring fair with “Hiring Our Heroes – Philadelphia” Friday, March 2.  To date, the fairs have connected 90,000 veterans and military spouses with more than 4,600 different employers.  More than 8,000 veterans have landed jobs. Find out more about the hiring fairs in your area here.

The Obama Administration’s corporate tax proposal: what will it mean for franchise small business owners?

The Obama Administration is set to put forth plans today to reform the corporate tax code today, according to USA TODAY:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will unveil a proposed business tax plan that would lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%, the administration announced this morning.

The plan would make up lost revenue by eliminating tax loopholes and simplifying a business tax system that an administration statement called “uncompetitive, unfair, and inefficient.”

President Obama’s “framework for business tax reform” is designed to “enhance American competitiveness by simplifying the tax code and eliminating dozens of loopholes and subsidies; incentivizing job creation and investment here at home; and lowering the business rate while broadening the tax base,” according to an administration statement.

Sounds great, right? Businesses love lower tax rates so what could be the harm in that? 

The problem lies in the fact that by only pursuing reform to the corporate tax code through a “piecemeal approach”, reform may negatively impact the more than 80 percent of franchise business owners who are pass-through entities such as S-corporations or LLCs and file their business income on their personal income tax return.

An IFA survey shows job creation and growth by franchise businesses could be negatively impacted through an approach of corporate tax reform without individual reform, given individual rates for many small business owners are set to increase at the end of 2012. In the survey, 88 percent of franchisors and 73 percent of franchisees indicated that higher tax rates on households earning more than $250,000 per year will negatively impact their business.

IFA firmly believes that tax reform should only be addressed through a comprehensive approach. While we appreciate the President recognizing that corporate tax reform is needed to keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy, we cannot support corporate tax reform on the backs of the small businesses that represent the majority of job creators in this country.

Leaving behind individual reform and pursuing only corporate reform would likely increase the uncertainty for franchise business owners at a time when the franchise industry is poised to be a leading driver of the economic recovery after three years of declines. IFA’s 2012 Franchise Business Economic Outlook forecasts projects the industry is poised for approximately 2 percent growth in 2012 in jobs (168,000) and franchise establishments (14,000).

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications

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