Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act (S. 1023) on Wednesday, sending this hard-fought bill to the House of Representatives for action.
“The Senate passage of the Travel Promotion Act is a significant event,” said AH&LA President and CEO Joe McInerney. “The passage of the bill by the Senate removes a major hurdle that we faced last year after the House acted on the bill. We’re optimistic that the House will quickly follow suit later this year with its own vote on this important piece of job-creating legislation.”
The Senate 79-19 vote to approve the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) came after days of intense grassroots lobbying and phone calls by AH&LA members to their Senate delegations to give the bill another chance. In June, the bill was pulled from Senate consideration after a number of unrelated amendments were added.
Weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations cleared the way for a clean bill to face today’s vote. The industry has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to thank for their tireless actions to keep this bill moving in the upper house.
This top lodging industry initiative is a significant step that will help boost a weakened American economy by increasing tourism. This bill will create thousands of new American jobs and bring billions of dollars of additional revenue into the country through new international visitors. It will promote the United States to overseas visitors and encourage them to visit.
Tourism to the U.S. declined after the September 2001 attacks, costing American businesses $140 billion in lost spending and the absence of 46 million potential international visitors. The decline in tourism also cost the government $23 billion in lost tax receipts.
“This Act will be an enormous step in our nation’s efforts to welcome more international visitors across America to our hotels,” said McInerney.
TPA now goes to the House of Representatives, which introduced its version (H.R. 2935) on June 18. The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) with support from Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), currently has 68 cosponsors.