The U.S. Travel Association applauded U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their leadership and agreement to move the Travel Promotion Act (S. 1023) as the first order of business following the Senate’s August recess. The legislation will deliver $4 billion in new spending annually to the economy by attracting millions of additional international visitors to the U.S., U.S. Travel says. Championed by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV), the bill also has the strong bipartisan support of 51 additional Senators.
“The Travel Promotion Act is common-sense legislation that will create American jobs, strengthen local communities and reduce the federal deficit,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Travel promotion is the proverbial ‘no brainer’ – just ask every other developed nation in the world that is wooing Americans to spend our hard-earned dollars in their economies. We appreciate the Senate’s commitment to put America on a level playing field.”
In 2008, overseas travel to the U.S. remained below pre-9/11 levels for the seventh consecutive year. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international arrivals are down 10 percent year-to-date in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Overseas travelers are especially important to the United States economy as they spend an average of $4,500 per person per visit.
“This legislation could not come at a more critical time for millions of workers across the U.S. dependent on a strong travel economy for their livelihoods,” said Dow. “With the support of Senators Reid, McConnell, Dorgan, Ensign, Rockefeller and others, America is one step closer to strengthening its economy. We encourage the House of Representatives to follow the Senate with prompt passage of the Travel Promotion Act.”
The Travel Promotion Act creates a non-profit corporation to better communicate America’s travel policies and promote the United States as a premier travel destination. No U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to fund the program. The program is funded by the private sector and a $10 fee collected by the Department of Homeland Security from travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to visit the United States. Nearly every developed nation other than the United Sates operates a multi-million dollar promotion program to attract foreign visitors, U.S. Travel says.