Legislation Introduced to Market Travel to the U.S.

Senators Byron Dorgan, Ted Stevens and Daniel Inouye have introduced legislation to create an international marketing campaign to promote America. It would create a public-private partnership providing matching funds of up to $100 million annually that would be added to money spent by travel industry interests to promote the U.S. around the world. The marketing program would be administered through a nonprofit Corporation for Travel Promotion that would report to the Department of Commerce and be overseen by a board of 14 travel industry leaders.  Roger Dow, president and CEO of TIA

"This is a huge opportunity for America and our travel industry," wrote Roger J. Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association, in a press release. "With this legislation, if our industry can raise less than one-tenth of one percent of what we receive from international visitors each year, our country will have $200 million each year to change perceptions of America around the world and compete with other countries for travelers." Department of Commerce figures show international travelers spent $107 billion in the U.S. last year.

The legislation proposes the following: creation of an Under Secretary of Commerce for Travel Promotion; establishment of a fee to be collected through an electronic travel authorization process on travelers from visa waiver countries, which would provide money to the government matching program; in fiscal 2009, the international travel promotion fund would be comprised of two dollars in government funds for every dollar contributed by the travel industry entities. Thereafter, it would become a one-to-one match. For more information, visit www.tbr.org and www.tia.org.

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U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow "strongly urges visitors and residents alike to wear masks and adhere to all healthy practices."