U.S. Senator Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced today that U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) will become the Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness, and Innovation. Schatz worked with Chairman Rockefeller to create the new Commerce Subcommittee which will include a focus on tourism issues. As the Chairman of the new Subcommittee, Schatz outlined a plan to boost tourism by working to expand visas and renew successful programs, like Brand USA, to support jobs and grow Hawai‘i’s local economy.

“A high quality visitor industry is one of the fastest ways to boost the entire economy.  It creates jobs within the industry as well as jobs and small businesses that support the entire economy. Through this new Commerce Subcommittee we’ll be able to make sure federal travel and tourism policies support the hospitality industry,” said Senator Schatz.  “I thank Chairman Rockefeller for his confidence in my leadership and I look forward to this new opportunity to better serve the people of Hawai‘i.”

“Senator Schatz’s chairmanship of this important tourism and commerce position will help support Hawai‘i jobs and businesses,” said Roy Yamaguchi, owner of Roy’s Restaurants and Board of Directors Member of Brand USA.  “Growing our hospitality industry means a stronger local economy and more opportunities for local kids like me when I was starting out.  As a business owner and Board Member of Brand USA, I know how important it is to have effective public-private partnerships working to promote tourism.  I look forward to working with Senator Schatz on our national tourism efforts and continuing to promote Hawai‘i as a world-class visitor destination.”

“I am supremely confident that Senator Schatz, as chairman of the Tourism Subcommittee, will put his singular insight on the importance of a robust tourism industry and an appreciation for its profound economic benefits to good use for his state and the country,” said Chairman Rockefeller.  “ As Hawai‘i’s Senator and as a former lieutenant governor, he has worked to help Hawai‘i’s economy grow and develop through leveraging tourism opportunities. Senator Schatz will continue to bolster and sharpen our nation’s competitive edge in the global economy by fighting for strong export and pro-innovation policies. I look forward to working with Senator Schatz on these issues that are vital to the future of our economy.”

To strengthen tourism in Hawai‘i, Schatz’s agenda includes:

Attracting international visitors.  Schatz’s plan will highlight Hawai‘i and the United States as a world class tourist destination. Reauthorizing programs like Brand USA, which ends in fiscal year 2015, will strategically market the United States to international visitors as a vacation destination.  Schatz will also work to promote smart and efficient use of government travel and meetings, spurring additional growth in tourism and hospitalit