In case you missed it, the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law today by President Obama. The act requires the creation of a public-private Corporation for Travel Promotion that will coordinate global advertising and promotion of the United States as a travel destination for business, pleasure and education while also clarifying U.S. entry policies. Funding for the act will come from public and private sources and a controversial $10 fee imposed on each foreign visitor to the U.S.
The act has drawn praise from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and most of the major hotel brands as a positive step toward improving international travel to the U.S. According to the Democratic Policy Committee and the Department of Commerce, there were more than 600,000 fewer overseas visitors to the U.S. in 2008 compared to 2000 resulting in tens of billions of dollars in lost visitor spending and taxes. As promotional activities ramp up and the number of overseas vistors improves, the hospitality industry is expected to benefit. With restaurant sales projected to grow just 2.5% in 2010, this additional public-private support for the hospitality industry is a blessing.