Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, the keynote speaker at International Pow Wow 2009, now underway in Miami, told nearly 5,0000 attendees that, "We are committed to removing barriers to the growth of tourism exports." Attendees included 2,000 travel professionals responsible for booking 90 percent of U.S. international inbound travel.
"Secretary Locke understands that travel is the economic stimulus America needs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip, creating jobs and economic opportunity in communities across America. Secretary Locke further demonstrated today that the Obama Administration shares our commitment to increasing travel to and within the United States."
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international travel to the U.S. declined by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009. The country continues to welcome fewer overseas visitors than it did prior to September 11, 2001, despite an increase of 48 million new long-haul travelers around the world.
The Travel Promotion Act, S. 1023, which is expecting a vote today in the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, would help to reverse the decline in overseas travel by creating a public-private campaign to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and better communicate U.S. security policies, U.S Travel says.
Oxford Economics, an international economic consulting firm, projects that travel promotion would yield $4 billion in new economic stimulus and $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year, U.S Travel says.