President Signs Travel Promotion Act

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Washington, DC – President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act into law March 4. He also signed a measure creating the public-private agency that will implement the plan to boost international business and leisure travel to the U.S.

The act is seen by the travel industry and trade show organizers as an important step in increasing the flow of overseas exhibitors and attendees to U.S. exhibitions. “This program will create tens of thousands of American jobs and help reverse negative perceptions about travel to the United States,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).

The act, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress, was signed at a ceremony in the Oval Office that was attended by congressional supporters and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. The signing was not open to the media.

The Commerce Department will oversee the Corporation for Travel Promotion, a public-private entity that will develop the marketing programs that will entice visitors, and the communications effort to help educate those travelers about the visa application process. Obama signed a bill relating to the U.S. Capitol Police force which had the creation of the Corporation for Travel Promotion tacked on to it.

The corporation will be headed by an 11-member board and will be funded through private-sector contributions and a $10 fee from travelers from nations that don’t currently require a $131 visa to visit the U.S. The fee will be collected beginning later this year.

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