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William Delahunt (D-MA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) recently introduced the "Travel Promotion Act of 2009." Its purpose is to create thousands of new jobs and boost economic growth nationwide by attracting millions of new international travelers to the United States. The House of Representatives unanimously passed a similar measure in the 110th Congress, and this House introduction comes as the Senate debates companion legislation.
"The bipartisan Travel Promotion Act is the type of economic stimulus that America's economy badly needs," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "At no cost to American taxpayers, this common-sense legislation will help to create thousands of jobs and strengthen communities from coast-to-coast. Representatives Delahunt and Blunt are leaders with a vision to improve America's economy."
The "Travel Promotion Act" establishes a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. The legislation specifies that private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers would pay for travel promotion from countries that do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. Nearly every developed nation in the world charges entry and exit fees and spends millions of dollars to attract visitors. Overseas visitors are believed to spend an average of $4,500 per person, per trip in the United States. However, since 9/11 international travel has been down in part due to changing security policies and negative foreign press coverage. Oxford Economics estimates that a well-executed promotion program, as outlined in the "Travel Promotion Act," would attract 1.6 million new international visitors annually, create $4 billion in new spending and drive $321 million in new federal tax revenue. An analysis by the U.S. Travel Association believes this program would create nearly 40,000 new American jobs.