Sunday, September 6, 2009

Good News for Tourism

The US Federal Government is one of the only tourist friendly countries that does not promote tourism. Many of the states, local governments and CVB’s (Convention and Visitors Bureau) have active promotions, but again not the Federal government.

We’ve been watching and supporting this bill for a long time. It looks it’s getting closer to passing which is good news for tourism and the millions of careers it supports. (Just in California tourism is an $86 billion dollar industry employing over a million people.)

Bipartisan Travel Promotion Gains Momentum as More than Half the Senate Supports Bill

Travel Promotion Will Create 40,000 U.S. Jobs, Add $4 Billion to U.S. Economy and Reduce Federal Deficit by $425 Million

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Travel Association announced today that S. 1023, the "Travel Promotion Act", now has the support of half the U.S. Senate. The bill will create thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth by attracting millions of additional international travelers to the United States.

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, are the 50th and 51st U.S. Senators to support the legislation. Since 9/11, potential visitors have found ever-changing security policies and negative foreign press coverage to be a deterrent to visiting America.

"We are grateful to Senator Bennett, Senator Specter and the rest of the cosponsors for their bipartisan commitment to create thousands of new jobs and add billions to the U.S. economy by supporting the Travel Promotion Act," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We encourage the Senate to capitalize on the bill's momentum and vote to pass it as soon as possible."

The "Travel Promotion Act," introduced by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV) and co-sponsored by an additional 49 Senators from both sides of the aisle, creates a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. The bill specifies that travel promotion would be paid for - at no cost to U.S. taxpayers - by private sector contributions and a modest fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. Nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars to attract visitors.

Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States. Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program would attract 1.6 million new international visitors and would generate $4 billion in new economic stimulus and $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that this program would create nearly 40,000 new American jobs in the first year. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office reports estimates that the "Travel Promotion Act" will reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over ten years. A House companion bill, H.R. 2935, is co-sponsored by 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thank you Elizabeth Moran for the update.