Just last Thursday, the Travel Promotion Act was approved by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 78 to 18 and was sent forward to President Obama for approval. The legislation proposes to establish a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership to promote the U.S. as a premier travel destination, as well as to improve explanations of travel security policies for foreign travelers.
“This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and the one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The U.S. Congress has sent a clear message that travel is a high priority to our nation and that tangible steps must be taken to increase travel to and within the U.S. We are extremely grateful to the bill’s champions: Senators Reid, Dorgan, Ensign and Klobuchar in the Senate and Representatives Delahunt, Blunt and Farr in the House.”
The bill would create the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), which would be funded by a matching program that features up to $100 million in private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the U.S. The fee would be collected every two years in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization, meaning that no funding would be required from U.S. taxpayers.
According to an independent analysis by Oxford Economics, the program could potentially attract as many as 1.6 million additional foreign visitors annually, as well as generate more than $4 billion in consumer spending annually.
“We know how successful a public-private partnership to promote travel can be from our own experience at the state level,” said Caroline Beteta, chair of the U.S. Travel Association and president and CEO of the California Travel & Tourism Commission. “With the best minds coming together from government and private industry to boost international travel to our country, we can make travel an even stronger economic engine for America.”
The CTP will work closely with the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security and State to develop a nationally coordinated, multichannel marketing and communications program to attract more international visitors and explain changing travel security policies.
“We could never have accomplished this common-sense policy without our champions in Congress and the White House and without the united and passionate voice of the travel community. The Travel Promotion Act shows what can be accomplished when the government and private sector work together to solve a problem,” said Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and chairman emeritus of the U.S. Travel Association.
U.S. Travel Association