The respected Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offered the travel industry some good news, reporting that Senate Bill 1023, the Travel Promotion Act, will reduce the U.S. federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years. The bill, now pending in the Senate, would establish a public-private partnership to promote international travel to the U.S. and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. The program would be paid for by private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a U.S. visa.
"This bill will reduce the deficit and increase jobs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The Travel Promotion Act will generate $4 billion in new stimulus each year; 40,000 new U.S. jobs in the first year; and $425 million in deficit reduction over 10 years - at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. This is the type of stimulus Americans are looking for."
The CBO report on S. 1023 states that, "In total, CBO estimates that enacting S. 1023 would reduce budget deficits by $425 million over the 2010-2019 period."
The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (S. 1023) was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on May 20, and is expected to be brought to the Senate floor in the coming days.
The U.S. Travel Association, a staunch suppotter of the legislation, says nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars to attract visitors and strengthen their economy, whereas the U.S. spends nothing. “Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States," U.S Travel said in a statement. "Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program would attract 1.6 million new international visitors, generate $4 billion in new economic stimulus and $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year.”