The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3232, the Travel Promotion Act of 2008, by voice vote. The legislation will create thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth nationwide by attracting millions of additional international travelers to the United States who, since 9/11, have found ever-changing security policies and negative foreign press coverage to be a deterrent to visiting the U.S.

The Travel Promotion Act, H.R. 3232, introduced by Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and co-sponsored by 243 additional members of the House of Representatives, 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 bill specifies that travel promotion would be paid for - at no cost to U.S. taxpayers - by private sector contributions and a modest fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. Nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars to attract visitors.

Two million fewer overseas travelers visited the U. S. in 2007 than in 2000. The decline in overseas travel since 9/11 has cost America 46 million visitors, $140 billion in lost visitor spending and $23 billion in lost tax revenue. If the U.S. had simply kept pace with global travel trends, the U.S. economy would have created an additional 340,000 jobs in 2007 and the total U.S. unemployment rate would have dropped from 4.6 to 4.4 percent.

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