Remember the Travel Promotion Act? The bill that would have created a public-private partnership to promote the U.S. as a premier travel destination and better explain U.S. security policies hit a nasty speed bump in June when a number of unrelated amendments caused it to be pulled from Senate consideration.
Well, it’s time to put the foot back on the gas because the TPA cleared the Senate floor yesterday in a 79-19 landslide.
The only detour left to navigate comes from the House of Representatives, where an additional vote is needed before the bill becomes law. The House passed similar legislation last session, which did not receive a Senate vote before adjournment.
Translation: Look for the Travel Promotion Act to receive the “all clear” within the next few months.
That’s a very good thing for hoteliers, who are looking for any bit of relief in this recession. The more overseas visitors who make their way to the States, the more money they’ll pump into the hotel industry and the U.S. economy in general. (These travelers spend an average of US$4,500 per person, according to the U.S. Travel Association.)
When all is said and done, the Act is projected to create some 40,000 new jobs, drive US$4 billion in new consumer spending and cut the federal budget deficit by US$425 million.
Talk about a stimulus.
Kudos should go to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., for keeping the bill moving in the upper house. The same should be said for the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the USTA, who contributed to weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations to clear the way for a clean bill to appear before the Senate.
So while the journey isn’t over yet, the final destination is clearly in view. And that’s one in which the hotel industry and U.S. economy can’t get to soon enough.
As Roger Dow, president and CEO of the USTA, said in a statement: “Nearly every company, city, state and developed nation understands the power of promotion. By getting in the global game, America will create tens of thousands of new jobs and strengthen its image in the world as visitors leave with an improved perception of our country and her people.”
Watch related video: Joe McInerney, president and CEO, AH&LA