Thursday, June 18, 2009
Travel association pushes ‘Travel Promotion Act’
By SUE WATSON
A bill in the U.S. Senate (S.1023) is designed to reduce the federal budget deficit by promoting foreign travel within the United States.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Travel Promotion Act would reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over 10 years.
Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, said the bill will reduce the deficit and increase jobs.
“The Travel Promotion Act will generate $4 billion in new stimulus each year; 40,000 in jobs the first year and $425 million in deficite reductions over 10 years - at no cost to U.S. taxpayers,” Dow said. “This is the type of stimulus Americans are looking for.”
The act was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on May 20, 2009 and is expected to be brought to the Senate floor soon.
The bill would establish public-private partnerships to promote international travel to the United States. 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.
The association said in a press release that nearly every developed nation puts millions of dollars into programs to attract visitors and to strengthen their economies while the United States spends nothing.
Overseas visitors to the U.S. spend an average of $4,500 per person per trip. A well-executed promotion of international travel to the U.S. could attract 1.6 new foreign visitors a year.
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that domestic and foreign travel in Mississippi in 2007 garnered $6 million in dollars spent in the state, created a travel payroll of $1.8 million and the industry employed 83,800.
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