Legislation to put the federal government in the travel promotion and tourism business is making headway in the U.S. Senate.
The Senate voted 90-to-3 Tuesday (June 16) to limit debate on the Travel Promotion Act, paving the way for its consideration. If enacted, the measure (S. 1023) would establish a nonprofit corporation to run a nationally coordinated travel promotion program.
Courtesy of the Port of Seattle, Photo by Don Wilson
Introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, the measure has a powerful supporter in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who pushed the bill to the head of the line. Testifying last month at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the depressed travel and tourism industry, Reid said the corporation “would market the U.S. around the globe as a tourist destination.” Reid told reporters earlier in the week that the bill could create 40,000 new jobs in the U.S.
Initially the corporation would receive $10 million in federal funding from money collected from travelers under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system currently being established by the Department of Homeland Secretary. After Fiscal 2010, the corporation would have to raise matching contributions to qualify for additional federal funding.