The Travel Promotion Act
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation today approved S. 1023, the "Travel Promotion Act of 2009." The bipartisan legislation, led by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV) creates a public-private partnership with a budget of up to $200 million annually to attract international travelers to the United States by better communicating America's security policies and competing for visitors. According to an analysis by Oxford Economics, the program could drive $4 billion annually in new spending by international travelers to the United States.
The US travel industry is in trouble.....
* International travel to the U.S. declined by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce
* Despite a weak dollar that made the U.S. a travel bargain and 48 million more people around the world traveling "long haul," the United States welcomed 633,000 fewer overseas visitors in 2008 than in 2000 - remaining below pre-9/11 levels of overseas visitors for the seventh consecutive year.
* Had the U.S. kept pace over the last eight years with the average growth in global overseas travel, we would have received an additional 58 million visitors, $182 billion in new visitor spending and $27 billion in new tax receipts. In 2008 alone, overseas travel would have created 245,000 jobs.
* A U.S. Travel Association analysis of government data reveals that the travel industry will lose nearly 450,000 jobs between 2008 and 2009.
I heard a softball interview about this on NPR last week. The person speaking for the bill was so pleased it would be paid for by a $10 fee levied on some travelers to the US, and matching funds from the airline industry-- you see, it doesn't count because it isn't taxpayer money.
Mostly, though, there was no clue that US security policies can't be made more palatable by explaining them.
First link thanks to james_nicoll.
[1l Cheryl's current situation: I now have somewhere to stay for the next week, which is a big relief. I can now start looking at a more long-term solution.
Also please note that I don’t need money. Or rather, I need money in much larger quantities than you kind folks could possibly supply, so I’m now asking for anything other than suggestions as to where I can rent crash space.