Travel Promotion Act Passed by House

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Washington, DC – The Travel Promotion Act took another step toward enactment this month when the House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 358-66.

The legislation moved back to the Senate, which voted in favor of it earlier this year but must vote once again before sending it to President Obama for his signature.

The final Senate vote is expected to take place sometime in the coming weeks.

The Travel Promotion Act is a major priority for the trade show industry. It is aimed at promoting travel to the United States and, in particular, will ease the dreaded visa process for international trade show attendees and exhibitors.

“The need for travel promotion has never been greater,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The United States must invest in better explaining its security policies and attracting foreign travelers.”

The plan includes a $10 fee levied on travelers from nations that are not required to pay the $131 visa fee. In addition, the private sector will provide matching funds up to $100 million. No taxpayer money will be used for the program.

A new effort to promote travel to the United States would come at a good time for the exhibition industry. Asia is expected to climb out of the recession ahead of North America and Europe.

The September 30 American Express Global Business Travel Forecast projected a 6% increase in domestic and international business travel in Asia next year compared to 1% growth in the United States, despite an average expected increase in domestic U.S. air fares of 1.2%.

Reach Roger Dow at (202) 408-8422 or rdow@ustravel.org