05-26-23 | News

GAO Study Highlights Challenges in DOT's Support for Travel and Tourism

Lack of Goals and Comprehensive Data Hinders Effective Implementation
by Staff

The Government Accountability Office conducted a study which revealed challenges in DOT's support for travel and tourism.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study on the Department of Transportation's (DOT) support for the travel and tourism industry. The DOT offers grant funding to state, local, and tribal governments, among other entities, for projects related to travel and tourism. The study found that six grant programs specifically address travel and tourism, while an additional 19 programs indirectly support the industry. In fiscal year 2022, DOT allocated approximately $5.6 billion for the six programs with travel and tourism provisions and nearly $68 billion for the other 19 programs.

However, the study identified two key challenges that hinder DOT's ability to effectively support travel and tourism. Firstly, there is a lack of specific goals outlined in DOT's National Travel & Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan. While the plan highlights general strategies and best practices, it lacks strategic goals directly related to travel and tourism. This absence makes it unclear what DOT intends to achieve through its efforts in supporting the industry.

Secondly, DOT has not collected comprehensive data specifically related to travel and tourism. Data on crucial aspects such as trip purposes, travel party size, and transportation modes used is lacking. This data gap hampers DOT's ability to make informed decisions and implement activities aligned with travel and tourism goals.

Based on these findings, the GAO makes two recommendations to the DOT. Firstly, they suggest that the DOT develops goals related to travel and tourism and incorporates them into its National Travel & Tourism Infrastructure Strategic Plan. This step would provide a clear vision and direction for DOT's efforts. Secondly, the GAO recommends that the DOT develops a plan to obtain additional data specific to travel and tourism, which will aid in revising and implementing the strategic plan effectively.

In response, the DOT has concurred with the recommendations, signaling its willingness to address the challenges identified by the GAO. By setting clear goals and acquiring comprehensive data, DOT aims to enhance its support for the travel and tourism industry.

About the GAO:
"GAO, often called the "congressional watchdog," is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress. GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, non-partisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently."


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