The Travel Promotion Act which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 was presented to the U.S. Senate on May 12, 2009. The Bill (S. 1023) uses landmark legislation to stimulate U.S. economic growth, create thousands of new American jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for communities across the country. It has bipartisan support including 11 Senate Republicans and 24 Senate Democrats as co-sponsors. It also has support in the House with 21 co-sponsors. Then why has it stalled in the Senate?
The basics of the legislation provide a marketing campaign to promote the U.S. as a tourism destination to other countries. It would be paid for by a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to visit the United States, with matching funds coming from the private sector. In short, no taxpayer dollars would be used. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that this program would create nearly 40,000 new jobs in the first year and $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that S. 1023, the “Travel Promotion Act,” will reduce the U.S. federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next ten years.
Nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars to attract visitors and strengthen their economy, whereas the United States spends nothing.
This act is meant to ensure that international travel benefits all States and the District of Columbia by identifying opportunities and strategies to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally, including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
The Travel Industry has been hit hard in recent years. In 2000, the U.S. welcomed almost 26 million international visitors. In 2007 the number was down by over 2 million. In fact, the number of international visitors has not yet rebounded to pre-September 11 numbers. Over the past year, the Meetings Industry has been hit hard by a combination of a bad economy, irresponsible corporations, irresponsible media reports and political grandstanding. In 2007 this industry was responsible for over $100 billion in revenues. Yet, according to Smith Travel Research and the U.S. Travel Association, the U.S. travel industry reported a loss of $1.9 billion in revenue from the cancellation of corporate meetings and events during the first two months of 2009. Now just imagine the tax dollars lost to individual states.
So, back to the original question – Why has the Travel Promotion Act stalled in the U.S. Senate? Perhaps you should ask your senator.