House Committee Approves 'Travel Promotion Act'

House bill 3232, the "Travel Promotion Act," has been approved by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Travel Industry Association (TIA) reported yesterday. The bill, which would establish a public-private partnership with which to attract millions of overseas visitors to the United States, will now move on to the full U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to vote soon on its passage.

"In these days of economic uncertainty, leaders in Congress took an important step today to create thousands of new jobs and billions in new economic growth by passing the 'Travel Promotion Act' out of committee," TIA President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "Increasing international travel to the United States is one of the best stimulants to our struggling economy. It is time for Congress to pass this commonsense legislation."

As reported earlier this week, a companion bill to House bill 3232, Senate bill 1661, has received 50 sponsors in the U.S. Senate. If passed, it would more effectively communicate U.S. security and entry policies as part of a multi-million dollar destination marketing effort in foreign countries, travelers from which contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every year.

TIA credits leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce—including Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich.; Ranking Member Joe Barton, R-Texas; and Representatives Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill.; Edward Whitfield, R-Ky.; and Mike Ross, D-Ark.—for their role in moving the Travel Promotion Act out of committee yesterday by voice vote. If it's approved by the full House and the Senate, and signed into law by the president, the legislation will initiate a significant travel promotion effort among international tourists, paid for by private sector contributions and a small fee levied on foreign travelers who do not pay the $131 charge for a U.S. visa.