Travel industry hit hard by the government shutdown

A deal could be in the offing between the White House and Congress. Obama and lawmakers have spent the past couple of days in discussions and the White House, now armed with various options, could soon settle on a way forward.

In 2012, travel spending exceeded $855 billion in the United States, generating $2 trillion in economic output and more than $129 billion in tax revenue. Travel is among the top 10 employers and is considered the nation's top services export. 

"Shutting down the government is damaging, and every day the government remains closed compounds the very real consequences," Dow said.

Dow expressed concern that the shutdown could cause the U.S. to forfeit many of the gains made through the cooperative work of Congress, the White House and the travel industry to attract more visitors to the United States. 

In the past year, strides have been made to speed up visa processing in high demand countries such as China and Brazil, while working to further smooth the entry process. 

"We have made enormous progress in recent years to attract millions of new and lucrative international visitors, for both leisure and business," Dow wrote. "The last thing we need is to place new obstacles in their way."

The group joined the growing number of business interests imploring Congress and the White House to reach a deal to reopen the government and raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. 

On Thursday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association wrote a letter saying it was costing their businesses $8 million a day during the shutdown, while areas near national parks are losing $76 million a day in visitor spending.

"The travel community is resilient and resourceful. Over the years, we have learned to adjust to economic volatility," Dow wrote. 

"However, the wounds resulting from the shutdown are both deep and self-imposed. This is one problem we have the tools to solve immediately, and we urge you to expeditiously reopen the federal government so the travel community can get back to work."