Obama signs Travel Promotion Act
By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama Thursday enacted legislation to promote international travel to the United States by establishing a national tourism board that would coordinate advertising and other efforts to encourage foreigners to visit the United States.
As a bipartisan group of lawmakers looked on as Obama signed the bill in the Oval Office. The measure is aimed at reversing a decline in foreign visitors to the United States of nearly 10 percent over the past decade.
The board created by the new law would develop advertising and educational campaigns to help potential travelers navigate United States visa requirements and security procedures.
The effort is to be paid for by private sector contributions matched by a $10 fee on foreign visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the United States.
Advocates of the law say it would help attract 1.6 million new international visitors, $4 billion in new spending and more than $300 million in tax revenue each year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who faces a tough re-election battle this year, was a strong backer of the bill in hopes it might aid the ailing economy of his tourism-reliant state.
Web Politics Editor
March 4, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Economy , National Security
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