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Action Alert for Innkeeping Industry - Help Pass Travel Promotion Act Now!

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jkarennj

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I’m wrapping up my day here in the nation’s capital, after having joined my colleagues from the travel industry in visiting several members of Congress and their staff. Our primary purpose in being in DC is to urge the passage of House Resolution 2935, also known as the Travel Promotion Act. If passed, the TPA would essentially create America’s first “destination marketing organization” that would exclusively work to bring more international travelers to the United States.
A new, stand-alone non-profit organization, called the Corporation for Travel Promotion, would be created and would manage the activities of tourism promotion. The board would be made up of representatives from various sectors of the travel industry. The Senate version of the bill passed last week with a vote of 79-19, demonstrating unusually high bi-partisan support. The lead sponsors in the House are Delahunt (D) from MA, and Blunt (R) from MO. There are currently 82 co-sponsors from both sides of the isle.
You can read all about the bill in detail here.
Why is this necessary? First of all, international travel to the US is down sharply. We have fewer international tourists visiting the US today than we did in 2001. Overseas visitors spend on average $4,500 per visit. Also, we’re the only nation in our competitive set (think Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc) that spends zero dollars on promoting our country as a great place to visit. Opponents to the bill believe the product should sell itself, or that entities in the private sector should shoulder the burden of promoting America. Oxford Economics estimates that “a well-executed promotion program, as outlined in the TPA, would attract 1.6 million new international visitors annually, create $4 billion in new spending and drive $321 million in new federal tax revenue.” The Congressional Budget Office says the bill “will reduce the deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years.” Talk about an economic stimulus bill!
One of the big reasons, I believe, the bill is getting so much support is that it is “deficit-neutral.” The American taxpayers will not be footing the bill for this. The law would ascribe a $10 fee to incoming visitors from countries participating in the visa waiver program (look here for a list), and the fee would cover multiple visits over a 2-year period. Someone ultimately has to pay for the efforts, and a minor fee paid by millions of non-resident travelers (who are likely not going to balk at the fee) is not a bad solution.
So, what can members of the B&B community do to help ensure the bill’s passage?

1. Contact your elected officials in the House of Representatives. Here’s a link that will help you find their information. While this page will allow you to email your elected officials, it is better to call them or send them a written letter, demonstrating your support of the TPA. Outline the reasons it is a good piece of legislation, and ask for their vote and co-sponsorship of the bill. Be sure to mention the impact of travel in your state – members of the House will be more apt to listen and respond, if they know how a bill will impact their home turf. Click here to find out the economic impact of travel in your state.
2. Before you reach out, make sure you know your facts. Read more about the issue by clicking here.
I was one of 300 travel industry leaders here in Washington DC meeting with legislators, pressing for the bill’s success. While you might not be able to come to DC to do the same, I still urge you to reach out and let them know how important the travel industry is and that we could use a boost. And – it’s about time America steps up and starts actively promoting the assets we have!
It’s likely this bill could be debated in the House in a matter of days. So, please take a few minutes now and become an activist for the B&B industry. Every stakeholder in our industry – innkeepers, aspiring innkeepers and vendors alike – could benefit from a healthier amount of in-bound traffic. After all, we know that international folks love B&Bs!
Thanks for your support and action! I invite you to leave a comment on my blog or Facebook page about this issue!
Sincerely,
Jay Karen
President & CEO
Professional Association of Innkeepers International
 

egoodell

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Will do, Jay, thanks for your great work. I'll inform my B&B Assn contact as well
RIki
 

gillumhouse

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Jay, As Legislative Chair of MABB I sent this to every member. We can only hope for follow-up.
As an FYI, West Virginia has been aware of the importance of this for years. Our Tourism Division maintains Tourism Offices in England and in Germany.
 

gillumhouse

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gillumhouse said:
Our Rourism Division maintains Tourism Offices in England and in Germany.
Are they the ones who are always shouting your praises?.
Are they the ones who are always shouting your praises?
I doubt that. Every now & then I get something worth talking about but not often - and it is not me, it is my City or something in my City. I get more telling me where to go - and I do not think there is a supply of ice there - than would EVER shout praises to or about me. I do know my place - shoe scrapings, you know, that place between the sole of the shoe and the heel that fills up with mud & muck? That is my place and i know it. No illusions here. In the scheme of things I am a medium-sized fish in the puddle called Shinnston.
 

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