The U.S. Senate is expected to bring the Travel Promotion Act to the floor for debate and a vote beginning as early as Wednesday, June 10. This is an enormous opportunity for the travel industry and a test of our resolve to stand up for travel and play a greater role in Washington. Here is some information about the The Travel Promotion Act, (S.1023). When and if this is passed, it'll finally provide a federal fund for travel promotion which hasn't been seen since the days of USTTA (United States Travel & Tourism Assoc), and an initiative to promote international tourism. For more information, click here.
BedandBreakfast.com joins the US Travel Association to encourage all those involved in the tourism industry to contact their Senators and encourage them to vote in favor of the Travel Promotion Act. Here are some relevant facts that might be included in a letter:
* Overseas visitors to the United States spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States. They stimulate economic growth and generate new tax revenues in every state and community without placing a burden on local services.
* In the depths of an economic crisis, America surely must be doing everything it can to attract these walking stimulus packages. Unbelievably, we are not.
* Unlike every other developed country in the world, the United States does not have a nationally coordinated travel promotion campaign to attract international visitors and promote America as a premier travel destination. The consequences are painfully clear:
• While international travel has boomed over the past several years, with 48 million more overseas trips booked in 2008 than in 2000, America actually lost 633,000 overseas travelers last year.
• The stunning loss in overseas visitation since 2000 has cost America $182 billion in lost visitor spending and $27 billion in lost tax receipts.
• If the United States had simply kept pace with global travel trends, the U.S. economy would have created an additional 245,000 jobs in 2008.
The Travel Promotion bill establishes a corporation for Travel Promotion, an independent, non-profit corporation governed by an 11-member board of directors appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. Board members are required to have professional expertise in travel, international travel promotion and marketing, and to broadly represent various regions of the United States.
• Establishes a Travel Promotion Fund whereby private industry contributions (up to $100 million) are matched with a government contribution (up to $100 million).
Federal contributions to the Fund are financed by a $10 fee paid by foreign travelers from Visa Waiver countries and collected via the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic Travel Authorization system. (American travelers frequently pay similar fees when traveling to other countries.) This fund would put the United States on par with Australia, Greece, Mexico, the United Kingdom and dozens of other countries that spend tens of millions of dollars annually to compete for visitors.
According to Travelpost.com, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that S.1023, the “Travel Promotion Act,” will reduce the U.S. federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years. “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.”