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( WASHINGTON, DC (July 31, 2007) — Travel industry leaders today applauded Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA) and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) for introducing the Travel Promotion Act of 2007 (H.R. 3232), legislation to create the first-ever substantial and sustainable international marketing campaign to promote America as a destination to potential visitors around the world.

The legislation, which closely mirrors legislation recently passed by the Senate Commerce Committee, would create a public-private partnership providing matching funds of up to $100 million annually that would be added to money spent by travel industry interests to promote the U.S. internationally. The marketing program would be administered through a non-profit Corporation for Travel Promotion that would report to the Department of Commerce and be overseen by a board of 14 travel industry leaders.

“We appreciate the bipartisan support this initiative is receiving in Congress and the growing understanding of how critical this promotion program will be in helping reverse the 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the U.S. since 9/11,” said Roger J. Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association. “With this legislation, if our industry can raise less than one-tenth of one percent of what we receive from international visitors each year, our country will have $200 million each year to change perceptions of America around the world and compete with other countries for travelers.”

Department of Commerce figures show international travelers spent $107 billion in the U.S. last year.

“This legislation creates a vehicle for us to compete with other countries aggressively marketing themselves and sends a message to the world that the U.S. is both secure and welcoming,” said Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loews Hotels. “Congressmen Blunt and Delahunt have taken a strong leadership role in recognizing how critical travel to the United States is to our economic security and public diplomacy efforts. Combined with legislation already passed by the Senate Commerce Committee, this legislation brings us one step closer to making travel and tourism the national policy priority it should be.”

A recently released study by former head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Oxford Economics shows that a nationally-coordinated travel promotion campaign, combined with visa and entry reforms that have already passed the Senate, would attract at least 1.6 million new visitors per year, which would yield $8 billion per year in new visitor spending and $850 million per year in new federal tax revenues.

Key elements of the bill include:

• Establishment of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, an independent, non-profit corporation governed by a 14-member board of private-sector directors appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.

• Creation of a Travel Promotion Fund, financed by voluntary contributions from the private sector and a $10 fee paid by overseas travelers from countries enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program.

The travel industry appreciates support for this legislation from a diverse group of leading House Members. Additional original co-sponsors of the bill include Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus Co-chairs Sam Farr (D-CA) and Jon Porter (R-NV), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Joe Barton (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Bobby Rush (D-IL), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair of the House Rules Committee Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee George Miller (D-CA), and Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL).

The Travel Business Roundtable (TBR), a strategic partner to the Travel Industry Association, is a CEO-based organization representing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. TBR’s mission is to educate public officials and policymakers about the important social and economic contributions of the travel and tourism industry. For more information, visit
The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $700 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express. For more information, visit

Press Contact: Cathy Keefe Travel Industry Association 202-408-2183,

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