It goes beyond being able to cross another country’s border.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts wants more Americans to get passports. Earlier this month, when news broke about the forthcoming campaign called the Hilton Passport Project, the takeaway was generally positive—an industry-wide, “Go, girl!” for a push to get more U.S. citizens to obtain the documentation they need to travel the world.
We turned to Stuart Foster, vice president of global brand marketing for the company, to see why Hilton is helping more Americans get every traveler’s favorite book. Foster noted that the push is part of a more concerted effort to get people ready to travel and is set to launch this fall. He also suggested that having a passport can improve the quality of your life overall.
To prove this latter point, Foster cited statistics from a recent study that indicated having a passport is not only good for you but also can make you happy. The study, which included responses from more than 1,000 American travelers, was conducted by Edelman Intelligence and was included in a report titled “The State of U.S. Passport Use.” Specifically, the study found that U.S. passport holders were “more likely to be content with their lives” than people without passports.
“We see the great international experiences people are having abroad—getting exposure to different cultures and destinations, making new international friends—contribute to this sentiment,” Foster said. “Passports are an important part of making travel possible.”
Passports certainly will become a hot-button subject in the coming months.
According to the State Department, just over 40 percent of Americans have passports right now. This means that the majority of Americans do not have them.
And according to various reports, soon some Americans will need passports even if they don’t intend to travel abroad; starting in 2018, new rules will require residents of nine states (including Pennsylvania and Maine) to have a passport, military ID, or permanent resident card in order to pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, even when just traveling domestically.
To help more people obtain passports before this deadline, Hilton will begin holding live events during which experts guide attendees through the process of getting passports. Foster said these formal Passport Project meet-ups will give attendees the chance to have their passport photos taken and receive all the necessary information and materials for getting the official documents. The campaign was expected to start in New York and will stop at more of Hilton’s 570 hotels after that.
Hilton’s interest in the subject is admirable, but travelers don’t need help from an outside company in order to get rolling with this on their own. If you’re eager to get the paperwork going, start the process now. And let’s hope all that subsequent travel makes you happier as the data suggest.