Monday, March 1, 2010

Coming Soon – a Corporation for Travel Promotion to the U.S.

CNN reported last week about the passage of the Travel Promotion Act. Excerpt below: 

-- A bill that will create a tourism promotion organization for the United States has received its final passage in the Senate.

The Travel Promotion Act calls for a nonprofit Corporation for Travel Promotion that will promote the United States as a travel destination and explain travel and security policies to international visitors.

"This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel," Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill, which the Senate passed 78-18 Thursday, in the next 10 days, according to the travel association.

A $10 fee charged to visitors from countries included in the Visa Waiver Program will partially fund the public-private organization. These visitors will pay the fee every two years when they register online using the Department of Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

The rest of the funding will come through a matching program of up to $100 million in private sector contributions. If the corporation is able to raise the projected $200 million annually, the organization would be the largest national tourism communications program in the world, Dow said.

Read the whole thing here.

On May 12, 2009, Senator Byron Dorgan introduced S. 1023, the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. Here is his update from the DPC:  

S. 1023 , the Travel Promotion Act,  enjoys bipartisan support.  On September 9, 2009, the Senate passed S. 1023 by an overwhelming vote of 79 to 19. [Roll Call Vote 272, 9/9/09]  On November 6, 2009, the House passed H. Res. 896, which suspended House rules, and agreed by voice vote to a resolution allowing S. 1023, the Travel Promotion Act, to be inserted into H.R. 1299, the United States Capitol Police Administrative Technical Corrections Act of 2009, as an amendment.  The Senate had previously passed H.R. 1299 by unanimous consent on October 29, 2009. 

On February 24, 2010, the Senate took up consideration of the House Message with respect to H.R. 1299.  Senator Reid offered S.A. 3326, a substitute amendment to H.R. 1299.  On the same day, Senator Reid filed a cloture motion on the motion to concur with the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1299.

Here is the link to the PDF file of --H.R.1299-- United States Capitol Police Administrative Technical Corrections Act of 2009 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate).  Scroll down to Sec. 9 for the Travel Promotion Act of 2009.

1 comment:

EvaLSeraphim said...

If they really wanted to promote travel to the US, they wouldn't make the entry process such a PITA. Or maybe that's just my impression based on the process at LAX.

While a strong subscriber to the "need to protect our borders" idea, I found myself utterly appalled on a plane coming back from the Far East while watching a video regarding what to expect at the airport and what forms to complete in advance of arrival. Watching the video, I learned that you have to fill out a form XZ1242 for being born at the time of a waxing gibbous moon when your mother was a Thai national and your father a Laotian, but you have to fill out a GV3475 if the parentage is the same but you were born at the time of a waning crescent. Pity the poor soul who merely wants to walk from one end of the international terminal to the other so he can simply change planes to go to Brazil but filled out YU568 rather than YU567. Any foreigner, and particularly one who does not speak English, should be admitted to Harvard if they successfully make it through immigration with all correct forms accurately completed in the first instance.

I have a graduate degree and English as a first language and I was hopelessly confused. I also thought that if the non-US nationals on the plane had any sense, they would say "Screw you, I'm going home," and turn right around.

If Congress wanted to encourage tourism to the US and wanted to not create new spending in the process, how about streamlining the existing immigration laws and have DHS create some user friendly forms?