Travel Promotions Act is Again Passed by Congress

The Travel Promotion Act is back in the news. See our previous post "What is the Travel Promotion Act?" Passed by Congress in the fall of 2009, the legislation was delayed due to procedural concerns. Finally in February, 2010, the Travel Promotions Act was again passed by Congress with major bi-partisan support and sent to President Obama, who signed the bill into law on March 4, 2010.

The Travel Promotion Act is tendered on the fact that "Promoting travel is critical to both America’s economy and public diplomacy." Overseas travel to the U.S. continues to be down compared to pre 9/11 figures. In contrast, global tourism has increased by 30%, that's 35 million new travelers, over the same time period.

As the U.S. government has wrestled with the effort of identifying and heading off terrorist threats since 9/11, it has imposed security programs that impact all phases of travel, including the visa application, visa interview, use of personal data supplied to airlines and cruise lines, fingerprinting, and exit requirements. All of these have left international travelers confused, feeling unwelcomed, and more likely to travel to some other part of the world.

The Travel Promotion Act has identified a lack of information on American security policies as the greatest deterrent to visiting the United States. This legislation, therefore, seeks to improve America's diplomacy with travelers from other countries, and thus improve America's economy. Combined with visa and entry reforms, it is expected to bring millions of dollars into the United States economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and have a 6:1 return in tax revenues.

The legislation calls for the formation of 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. Most industry leaders feel that the passage of this act is a victory for everyone involved in the travel industry, including the timeshare community.
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