On Feb 25, 2010, the United States Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature.
The landmark legislation establishes a public-private partnership to promote the US as a travel destination and clarify US security policies to foreign travelers.
The Senate had already passed it’s own version (S. 1023) of the bill last year, and so had the House (HR1299). After the House sent it back to the Senate with an amendment, it got held up in the Senate as the healthcare bill took center-stage.
The cloture vote for concurring with the House amendment was originally scheduled for Friday morning, but the vote was moved up to Thursday after the healthcare summit, and got bipartisan support this time, passing by a huge margin of 78-18 votes.
The Travel Promotion Act creates the Corporation for Travel Promotion whose activities will be 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 will be collected once every two years in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). No money is provided by U.S. taxpayers.
The U.S. Travel Association deserves a lot of the credit for pursuing the passage of this legislation tirelessly ever since its introduction in May last year, and so do the bill’s supporters in Congress - Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) who introduced it in the Senate, and also Senators Reid, Ensign and Klobuchar in the Senate and Representatives Delahunt, Blunt and Farr in the House.
Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Travel Association, said that “We could never have accomplished this common sense policy without our champions in Congress and the White House, and without the united and passionate voice of the travel community.”