New Bill Could Tax Foreign Visitors to Fund U.S. Travel Campaign Internationally

Some legislators are looking to bring more international travelers stateside, and a new bill would fund the advertising campaign at the cost of those same globe-trotters it would target.

Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 to the House today, a bipartisan bill that has already won praise from industry organizations.

The legislation would establish a public-private partnership to promote the U.S. as an international travel destination. The campaign would be funded by a $10 fee on foreign travelers who are not required to pay for visas, as well as by private sector contributions. Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the U.S.

Leaders of the U.S. Travel Association have said that the legislation is essential to lifting up an industry hurt by post-9/11 security policies and would create jobs, helping to salvage the economy. "The bipartisan Travel Promotion Act is the type of economic stimulus that America's economy badly needs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. That organization estimates that the bill could create nearly 40,000 new American jobs.

A similar bill is currently under consideration in the Senate.

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