RALEIGH – North Carolina’s statewide travel industry welcomed news today that the U.S. Congress passed legislation to create economic growth and thousands of new American jobs by welcoming millions more international travelers to the United States.
The Travel Promotion Act is expected to become law within 10 days.
Visitors to North Carolina bring an economic impact of more than US$22 billion dollars, the tourism industry directly employs more than 190,500 North Carolinians with a payroll of $4.2 billion, and it generates more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.
“The United States is equipping itself to compete in the international travel market as so many other countries are successfully doing today by promoting our diverse destinations and travel policies abroad, all under a collective national brand,” said Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for tourism, marketing, and global branding for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. “Our North Carolina travel industry partners have worked extremely hard for several years to help promote this important legislation.”
Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association added, “This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and the one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel. The United States Congress has sent a clear message that travel is a high priority to our nation and that tangible steps must be taken to increase travel to and within the United States. We are extremely grateful to the bill’s champions: Senators Reid, Dorgan, Ensign, and Klobuchar in the Senate and Representatives Delahunt, Blunt, and Farr in the House.”
The Travel Promotion Act establishes a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. According to analysis by Oxford Economics, the bill is estimated to drive $4 billion in new consumer spending annually, provide $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year, and create 40,000 U.S. jobs nationwide. Further, it is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Overseas visitors spend an average of more than $4,000 when they visit the United States.
The Travel Promotion Act is modeled after successful state-level initiatives and is funded through a matching program featuring up to $100 million in private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. The fee is collected once every two years in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization. No money is provided by U.S. taxpayers.
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $770 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel’s mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. For more information, visit www.ustravel.org.
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