Senate urged to pass Travel Promotion Act

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON —The National Restaurant Association has urged quick passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate, “The Travel Promotion Act,” S. 1023, which the association says “would aggressively promote international travel to the U.S.” A successful vote in the upper chamber would send the bill to President Obama for his signature.

“The National Restaurant Association, representing an industry of nearly one-million restaurants, offers our strong support for quick passage of the Travel Promotion Act, so it can finally be signed into law,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice-president for policy and government affairs for the association, in a letter to all members of the Senate. “We are encouraged to hear that the Senate is likely to vote on the Act in the near future."

Although international travel has boomed over the past decade, the U.S. has actually lost visitors from abroad during this time, Mr. DeFife points out. “According to research just released by Oxford Economics, this decade-long decline in international travelers has cost the U.S. in excess of 440,000 jobs in all regions of the country that could have been created and sustained,” he added.

Under the Travel Promotion Act, a public-private partnership campaign would be created to market the U.S. as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing the number of international visitors into the country. Increased international travel to the U.S. would strongly benefit restaurants, as up to 40% of annual sales for some segments of the industry are attributable to travelers, with international visitors spending more time and more money — on average of $4,500 per person, per visit — than domestic travelers spend.

N.R.A. has long supported legislation to help attract more international visitors and establish the U.S. as a travel destination. Approximately half of all travelers say they dine out when they travel, and dining out is the most popular activity planned after tourists arrive at a destination.
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