The Travel Promotion Act (S.1023), which passed the Senate by a strong bipartisan vote of 79 to 19 on September 9, 2009, would jumpstart economic activity in the tourism industry and create jobs by encouraging tourist travel to the United States. The bill would establish a non-profit corporation to execute a nationally-coordinated travel promotion program, better communicate American entry policies to international travelers, and promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States. The House included the text of the Travel Promotion Act in H.R.1299 and the Senate now needs to pass the legislation to send it to the President for his signature.
While international travel has boomed over the last decade, with 46 million more overseas trips taken in 2009 than in 2000, the United States had 2.4 million fewer travelers in 2009 than in 2000. If the United States had merely maintained its share of overseas visitors over the past decade, 441,000 jobs could have been created or retained. The Travel Promotion Act would allow the United States to compete with other countries that spend hundreds of millions of dollars to promote travel to their countries.
The Travel Promotion Act would create jobs and reduce the deficit. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the bill could create 40,000 American jobs and yield $321 million in new federal tax revenue annually. [U.S. Travel Association, Get America's Economy Back on Track] The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the legislation would reduce the deficit by $425 million over the next decade. [Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate, S.1023.pdf" target="_blank">S.1023] Small businesses, which make up 90 percent of employers in the travel industry, would receive a particularly strong boost from a coordinated campaign to promote travel to the United States.
The Travel Promotion Act would encourage travel to the United States and increase spending by visitors. The travel promotion campaign provided for in the legislation could yield an additional 1.6 million international visitors a year to the United States, which would translate into $4 billion in additional spending. [U.S. Travel Association, Get America's Economy Back on Track]
Travel and tourism support jobs and promote economic growth in every region of the country. The travel and tourism sector generates approximately $1.3 trillion in economic activity each year in the United States and supports 8.3 million travel-related jobs. Overseas and international travelers visit all regions of the country, contributing to the economies of every state. The average overseas visitor to the United States spends more than $4,000 per visit.Increased tourism would boost the hospitality industry, increase the number of individuals eating in American restaurants, encourage additional spending in retail stores, and expand the use of all forms of transportation.