After years of dwindling visits from international tourists, the government is pushing for improvement with the passing of the Travel Promotion Act. The bill, referred to as H.R. 1035 on the House floor, was passed by a vote of 358 to 66 last week. The legislation was initially passed in September, but Senate procedure made it necessary for an additional vote.
The Travel Promotion Act is intended to stimulate U.S. economic growth, create 40,000 new American jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for communities across the country. The legislation calls for an overseas travel promotion program that is projected to bring in millions of new visitors, $4 billion in consumer spending and reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million in the next 10 years.
“The need for travel promotion has never been greater,” stated Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “As the recent vote of the International Olympic Committee demonstrated, the United States must invest in better explaining its security policies and attracting foreign travelers. The Travel Promotion Act is a ‘win-win’ for our economic and diplomatic efforts.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and will be funded by a $10 fee paid by overseas visitors (from countries that do not pay for a $131 visa to enter the U.S.) and contributions from the American private sector. In addition, the act will strategically promote the U.S. as a premier international travel destination and communicate security and entry policies. The legislation is considered essential for the U.S. to keep up with the competition from other countries that are spending millions to attract overseas visitors.
For more information, visit poweroftravel.org.