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AH&LA Supported Travel Promotion Act Moves to
Full U.S. House of Representatives for Vote

Legislation Would Establish a Non-profit Corporation to Communicate U.S Entry
Policies and Promote Travel to the U.S.

Washington, D.C, September 24, 2008 – Recognizing the importance of tourism to the American economy, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Travel Promotion Act (H.R. 3232), a bill that promises to add tens of thousands of new industry jobs and billions of dollars in economic stimulation for the United States.  
H.R. 3232 - Summary

H.R. 3232 would establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote tourist, business, and scholarly travel to the United States.

Travel Promotion Act of 2007 - Establishes the Corporation for Travel Promotion as a nonprofit corporation that is not an agency or establishment of the U.S. government. Makes the Corporation subject to the provisions of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act.

Requires the Corporation, among other things, to provide useful information to people interested in traveling to the United States, identify and address perceptions in other countries regarding U.S. entry policies, and promote U.S. travel.

Establishes in the Treasury the Travel Promotion Fund. Requires the transfer of Treasury funds to the Corporation, requiring nonfederal matching funds.

Authorizes the U.S. government, if a fully automated electronic system is implemented to determine, in advance of travel, the eligibility of an alien to travel to the United States, to charge an applicant a system use fee.

Amends the International Travel Act of 1961 to replace references to the United States National Tourism Organization with references to the Corporation. Modifies various requirements applicable to the Tourism Policy Council.

Amends the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003 to remove provisions establishing the United States Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board.

“Passing the Travel Promotion Act is one of the top legislative priorities of AH&LA this session,” said Joe McInerney, AH&LA president and CEO.  “This bill has the potential to deliver a large number of new visitors to U.S. hotels and create thousands of new jobs in our industry.  In today’s tough economic environment, every step Congress can take to support U.S. businesses is welcome news.”
Spending in the United States is down almost $12 billion by international travelers, according to 2006 Dept. of Commerce statistics.  
Strongly supported by the American lodging and tourism industry, the full Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill September 23 on a voice vote in the last markup of the regular 110th Congress session.  The bill was passed earlier this month in the committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.  
The next step for this legislation is for a full House vote.  AH&LA and its allies are working with Congressional leadership offices to find a place for it on the House’s suspension calendar.  For a bill to pass on this calendar, it will need a two-thirds vote to move on to a Senate vote.  Most legislation introduced in the House never makes it to a committee vote, much less to the full House, so this is a significant achievement in a very tough legislative year.
AH&LA has been actively promoting this bill since it was introduced earlier in the current Congressional session.   This legislation would establish the Corporation for Travel Promotion as a nonprofit corporation promoting the United States as a valuable travel destination and counter and correct misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy.   
“This bill would not be on a fast track to a vote in the House of Representatives if it was not for the leadership and support of subcommittee chairman Rep. Bobby Rush,” said Marlene Colucci, AH&LA executive vice president for policy.  “The Travel Promotion Act would allow more international visitors to enjoy American hospitality, and help more American businesses reap the benefits and stimulate their local economies.”
Rep. Rush was not the only Congressional champion of this important legislation.  Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Edward Whitfield (R-KY), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Mike Ross (D-AR), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), and all the other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee receive the American lodging industry’s appreciation and thanks for their recognition of this legislation’s importance in helping strengthen the U.S. economy.
This issue was heavily lobbied for by more than 200 hospitality executives at the AH&LA Legislative Action Summit last spring when they visited Congressional offices.  It was also at the top of the agenda when 15 CEOs of the nation’s leading hotel companies visited Capitol Hill last week to urge Congressional leadership to move this bill up for a vote.  
For more information about AH&LA’s work on the Travel Promotion Act, go to AH&LA’s “Travel and Tourism Promotion” Webpage.

Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.


Robert Baylor 

Also See: U.S. Travel Industry Lauds Congress for Action That Improves Security and Sends Welcoming Message to International Visitors / December 2007


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