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jkarennj

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You may recall, I spent some time in Washington DC a few months back, lobbying for the passage of the Travel Promotion Act.

The one-line summary of the bill (on the US Senate web site) is: "A bill to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States."

The international visitor is an important customer in our industry. Most innkeepers I encounter say they welcome many international visitors. Visits to the US are below what we saw in 2000, and this has a great impact on our economy - especially the micro-economy of the travel industry.

Click here for a very compelling list of reasons why this bill is a good thing. Best estimates reveal that this legislation will help reduce the deficit, which is likely why it received such strong bipartisan support. Here is a list of the 79 Senators who voted in favor, the 19 who voted against, and the one who didn't vote.

To understand the powers of the bill and how it would be funded, click here. A few members have disagreed with my support of this bill, because it would involve a new $10 fee on travelers from visa-waiver countries. Compared to what Americans pay in similar fees when visiting European countries (most fees are hidden in taxes and fees in your airline ticket) this is very, very minor. In my opinion, a $10 fee that is good for two years would not prohibit people from traveling to the US.

If you want to communicate with your Senator via email, click here for an easy-to-use, online portal. Be sure to include personal details about you and your business, so it's not as cookie-cutter.

Thanks for your support! Swirt - if this crosses the line of "too political," I will understand if you must take it down.
Best regards,
Jay
Edited to add: A new vote on a) "cloture" and b) "final passage" for the same Senate-passed bill they approved in September is still necessary.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Thanks for the update, Jay.
I'm afraid, though, that I am in the category of those opposed to recouping the costs through an additional $10 fee.
While it is true that many other countries charge higher fees than does the US, there can be no doubt that the increased fees (including the $131 application fee) have contributed to the decline of travelers to the states.
Anything that adds to those fees would not get my approval. I want to see more tourists here. We need to reduce the already cumbersome process and lower fees to begin to do that. IMHO.
 

Copperhead

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Thank you Jay for your continued efforts to our industry. I have sent my letters. I do not think anyone seriously looking to travel from foreign lands would think twice about coming due to an extra $10 fee and most countries do require travel visas now, especially those that have the most travelers to and from the states.
 

jkarennj

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Thanks for the update, Jay.
I'm afraid, though, that I am in the category of those opposed to recouping the costs through an additional $10 fee.
While it is true that many other countries charge higher fees than does the US, there can be no doubt that the increased fees (including the $131 application fee) have contributed to the decline of travelers to the states.
Anything that adds to those fees would not get my approval. I want to see more tourists here. We need to reduce the already cumbersome process and lower fees to begin to do that. IMHO..
Sorry, Innkeeper to Go...I must not have been clear in my email.
While I mentioned this, I didn't give details. The $10 fee will only be imposed on visitors from Visa Waiver countries. These visitors from these 35 countries do not pay the $131 fee. Here's a quote from the US Travel Association's press release about the bill:
The “Travel Promotion Act” establishes a public-private partnership to promote the
United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S.
security and entry policies. The legislation specifies that travel promotion would be paid
for by private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers from countries that
do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States.
I'm not sure if that would change your mind about it or not. No one likes increased fees for anything. The question is - will the fees generate more than its share of business, stimulus, jobs, etc? The travel industy is betting on "yes," and so is the US Congress.
Jay
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Thanks for the update, Jay.
I'm afraid, though, that I am in the category of those opposed to recouping the costs through an additional $10 fee.
While it is true that many other countries charge higher fees than does the US, there can be no doubt that the increased fees (including the $131 application fee) have contributed to the decline of travelers to the states.
Anything that adds to those fees would not get my approval. I want to see more tourists here. We need to reduce the already cumbersome process and lower fees to begin to do that. IMHO..
Sorry, Innkeeper to Go...I must not have been clear in my email.
While I mentioned this, I didn't give details. The $10 fee will only be imposed on visitors from Visa Waiver countries. These visitors from these 35 countries do not pay the $131 fee. Here's a quote from the US Travel Association's press release about the bill:
The “Travel Promotion Act” establishes a public-private partnership to promote the
United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S.
security and entry policies. The legislation specifies that travel promotion would be paid
for by private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers from countries that
do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States.
I'm not sure if that would change your mind about it or not. No one likes increased fees for anything. The question is - will the fees generate more than its share of business, stimulus, jobs, etc? The travel industy is betting on "yes," and so is the US Congress.
Jay
.
Jay, as long as they don't have to pay the application fee (which I understand applies to all visitors now), I wouldn't be opposed to the $10.
But right now, I think we ought to be working with State to get those application fees reduced/abolished, not adding new fees. IMHO.
That said, if it's as you're describing and the visitors are not paying an application fee at all, I would have no problem with the $10 at all.
 

swirt

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Swirt - if this crosses the line of "too political," I will understand if you must take it down.
Thanks Jay for being sensitive to this. While it may be tied to politics, it is absolutely on topic to our industry so I don't really have a problem with it as long as it and the ensuing discussion relate to facts and details.
If it turns ugly i'll lock it down....but i don't foresee that happening ;)
 

JBloggs

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Frommers metioned this special to air inclusive trip to Russia and this quote from it:
[FONT= 'Times New Roman']Over and above that $799 cost, you'll have to spring $131 for a Russian visa, a price chosen by the Russians in retaliation for the $131 that we Yanks charge to foreigners wanting to visit the U.S.A. And you'll have to submit a fair amount of paperwork to the Russian authorities, for which you'll receive assistance from Gate 1 Travel.[/FONT][FONT= 'Times New Roman']
Read more here [/FONT]
So what would happen - they spring the extra required $131 and we are forced to provide lesser and lesser room rates and packages to entice them to visit our country. ? For the Visa free countries - all the taxes and fees are already very very high.
Like that Shenandoah special when you go to book it shows a "water surcharge" and that put me off. Mainly as it was not part of the deal to begin with.
How would this $10 tourism fee be charged? Onto the airline ticket as a tax/fee or paid upon entry into the USA? Would ALL Canadians pay this fee upon entry? I am sure it wouldn't be charged with all the day workers coming across the US/MEX border each and every day, right? Only those FLYING in?
You said "In my opinion, a $10 fee that is good for two years would not prohibit people from traveling to the US." So it is good for two years, is it a stamp on their passport then?
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Frommers metioned this special to air inclusive trip to Russia and this quote from it:
[FONT= 'Times New Roman']Over and above that $799 cost, you'll have to spring $131 for a Russian visa, a price chosen by the Russians in retaliation for the $131 that we Yanks charge to foreigners wanting to visit the U.S.A. And you'll have to submit a fair amount of paperwork to the Russian authorities, for which you'll receive assistance from Gate 1 Travel.[/FONT][FONT= 'Times New Roman']
Read more here [/FONT]
So what would happen - they spring the extra required $131 and we are forced to provide lesser and lesser room rates and packages to entice them to visit our country. ? For the Visa free countries - all the taxes and fees are already very very high.
Like that Shenandoah special when you go to book it shows a "water surcharge" and that put me off. Mainly as it was not part of the deal to begin with.
How would this $10 tourism fee be charged? Onto the airline ticket as a tax/fee or paid upon entry into the USA? Would ALL Canadians pay this fee upon entry? I am sure it wouldn't be charged with all the day workers coming across the US/MEX border each and every day, right? Only those FLYING in?
You said "In my opinion, a $10 fee that is good for two years would not prohibit people from traveling to the US." So it is good for two years, is it a stamp on their passport then?.
Joey Bloggs said:
How would this $10 tourism fee be charged? Onto the airline ticket as a tax/fee or paid upon entry into the USA? Would ALL Canadians pay this fee upon entry? I am sure it wouldn't be charged with all the day workers coming across the US/MEX border each and every day, right? Only those FLYING in?
You said "In my opinion, a $10 fee that is good for two years would not prohibit people from traveling to the US." So it is good for two years, is it a stamp on their passport then?
Good questions. The thing about occupancy tax and associated fees (that often go to support tourist boards) is that guests don't see it broken down and it's not a pick and choose which guests it applies to sort of thing.
When some travelers are stuck paying it and not others, I think they'll ask what it's for. If they find out it's for tourist promotion, I'm guessing that's going to go over like a lead balloon.
So how it is actually applied and how much that's worth are important considerations. Who takes the money and how much administrative time is being spent to collect $10?
And what does the tourist get for their $10? I believe rather than tourist promotion, the travelers should be getting something. Possibly assistance in their home countries with travel plans, possibly assistance when they arrive in America with the same. But something that THEY get, not something just for our benefit.
IMHO.
 

JBloggs

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Just saw this on a trav l z oo promotion:
"U.S. or International Departure and Arrival Charges: U.S. or international government imposed taxes and fee of up to $200.00 USD may apply depending upon the itinerary chosen."
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Just saw this on a trav l z oo promotion:
"U.S. or International Departure and Arrival Charges: U.S. or international government imposed taxes and fee of up to $200.00 USD may apply depending upon the itinerary chosen.".
Which, IMHO, is just flat out dumb. Adding fees for entry does, in fact, restrict entries. Is that what we want to do?
 

jkarennj

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
 

jkarennj

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
.
My intent was not to portray it as either you are for us or you're against us...or you support the $10 fee or live with a sagging travel economy, because I know the $10 fee is not a guaranteed cure-all. I wasn't making the argument - I was posing a question that I think is a legitimate way of examining the bill and what it hopes to accomplish.
This isn't the first and only idea to come to the table. Maybe I should have said that the travel industry (through the former Travel Industry Association, now called the US Travel Association) for years and years could not figure out how to collectively and effectively market America as a destination through other means. They tried launching and supporting programs, such as www.discoveramerica.com. There's never been the large-scale funding needed to make it work. It doesn't mean better ideas don't exist, but none have won the general support of the travel industry leadership like this one has, and the travel industry has to provide matching resources under this law.
Internal opposition to the bill has primarily focused on the opinion that it's not the federal government's role to promote America - let the private interests within the country bear the cost of promoting inbound travel. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been the most vocal. And I'm perfectly ok with that argument. Everyone probably draws a line in the sand in their own minds with regard to what the federal government should and should not engage in. I think this is one case where a public-private partnership makes good sense, even though I too am warm (not red hot) on the whole concept.
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
 

Samster

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
.
My intent was not to portray it as either you are for us or you're against us...or you support the $10 fee or live with a sagging travel economy, because I know the $10 fee is not a guaranteed cure-all. I wasn't making the argument - I was posing a question that I think is a legitimate way of examining the bill and what it hopes to accomplish.
This isn't the first and only idea to come to the table. Maybe I should have said that the travel industry (through the former Travel Industry Association, now called the US Travel Association) for years and years could not figure out how to collectively and effectively market America as a destination through other means. They tried launching and supporting programs, such as www.discoveramerica.com. There's never been the large-scale funding needed to make it work. It doesn't mean better ideas don't exist, but none have won the general support of the travel industry leadership like this one has, and the travel industry has to provide matching resources under this law.
Internal opposition to the bill has primarily focused on the opinion that it's not the federal government's role to promote America - let the private interests within the country bear the cost of promoting inbound travel. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been the most vocal. And I'm perfectly ok with that argument. Everyone probably draws a line in the sand in their own minds with regard to what the federal government should and should not engage in. I think this is one case where a public-private partnership makes good sense, even though I too am warm (not red hot) on the whole concept.
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
.
Jay, thank you for taking the time out of what must be an extremely busy schedule to inform us so thoroughly of this new legislation and so forth. It is much appreciated!
 

JBloggs

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Thank you how explaining how the fee would be collected, so the no visa required applicant would pay the $10 fee. I agree that those countries coming in from our friendly partner countries would find $10 a bargain.
FYI for those who do not travel overseas, the "no visa countries" are for those visiting our country short term from over 25+ friendly countries, it is a program to allow visitors and business guests to fly in with valid passports, but a visa is not required each time. A visa being a separate document to allow entry in addition to the current passport. Student visas or work visas are something different to a visitors visa.
(If we could go back and delete any of the political comments and streamline it, it would save some future issues here on the forum)
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
.
My intent was not to portray it as either you are for us or you're against us...or you support the $10 fee or live with a sagging travel economy, because I know the $10 fee is not a guaranteed cure-all. I wasn't making the argument - I was posing a question that I think is a legitimate way of examining the bill and what it hopes to accomplish.
This isn't the first and only idea to come to the table. Maybe I should have said that the travel industry (through the former Travel Industry Association, now called the US Travel Association) for years and years could not figure out how to collectively and effectively market America as a destination through other means. They tried launching and supporting programs, such as www.discoveramerica.com. There's never been the large-scale funding needed to make it work. It doesn't mean better ideas don't exist, but none have won the general support of the travel industry leadership like this one has, and the travel industry has to provide matching resources under this law.
Internal opposition to the bill has primarily focused on the opinion that it's not the federal government's role to promote America - let the private interests within the country bear the cost of promoting inbound travel. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been the most vocal. And I'm perfectly ok with that argument. Everyone probably draws a line in the sand in their own minds with regard to what the federal government should and should not engage in. I think this is one case where a public-private partnership makes good sense, even though I too am warm (not red hot) on the whole concept.
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
.
jkarennj said:
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
Understood.
But my point is that you'll garner more support by being open to the myriad of reasons for opposition rather than only understanding opposition based on political ideology.
Not to mention the fact that the same folks who could never agree on implementation of this idea privately would be likely candidates to serve on the nonprofit. Why will they be more successful now?
I believe, BTW, that it is absolutely in all of our best interests for the government to be involved in promoting tourism abroad. And when I say all of us, I mean all of us Americans, not only all of us innkeepers.
I am not at all convinced, though, that this is the appropriate vehicle for that. Or that the nonprofit formed will be successful in accomplishing its goals.
 

Samster

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
.
My intent was not to portray it as either you are for us or you're against us...or you support the $10 fee or live with a sagging travel economy, because I know the $10 fee is not a guaranteed cure-all. I wasn't making the argument - I was posing a question that I think is a legitimate way of examining the bill and what it hopes to accomplish.
This isn't the first and only idea to come to the table. Maybe I should have said that the travel industry (through the former Travel Industry Association, now called the US Travel Association) for years and years could not figure out how to collectively and effectively market America as a destination through other means. They tried launching and supporting programs, such as www.discoveramerica.com. There's never been the large-scale funding needed to make it work. It doesn't mean better ideas don't exist, but none have won the general support of the travel industry leadership like this one has, and the travel industry has to provide matching resources under this law.
Internal opposition to the bill has primarily focused on the opinion that it's not the federal government's role to promote America - let the private interests within the country bear the cost of promoting inbound travel. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been the most vocal. And I'm perfectly ok with that argument. Everyone probably draws a line in the sand in their own minds with regard to what the federal government should and should not engage in. I think this is one case where a public-private partnership makes good sense, even though I too am warm (not red hot) on the whole concept.
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
.
Great info that is good for all of us to digest and ponder over and decide how to react.
 

JBloggs

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Come visit the U.S. - and create jobs![/h1]By Tami Luhby, senior writerFebruary 25, 2010: 3:48 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Next up on the Senate's jobs-creation agenda: Lure more foreign travelers to the United States.
Lawmakers are set to vote next week on the Travel Promotion Act, which would create a nonprofit corporation to market overseas visits to United States. The venture would be funded by a $10 fee on foreign travelers and up to $100 million from the tourism industry.
America is one of the few developed countries that doesn't market itself abroad, according to industry experts, though states, resorts, hotel chains and attractions certainly promote themselves.
Marketing campaigns funded by the act could attract an additional 1.6 million international visitors a year, generating $4 billion in spending and creating 40,000 jobs, according to consulting firm Oxford Economics, which has conducted research on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group.
"We're the only modern nation that doesn't advertise ourselves," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Monday as he laid out his plan to spur employment. "Every state in the union, their No. 1 or No. 2 ... economic driver is tourism."
The act would create a public-private venture, similar to a state or city visitors' bureau, that would be run by an 11-member board of industry representatives appointed by the Commerce Secretary.
The $10 fee would be charged only to those visiting from the 35 countries that don't need visas to enter the United States. These include most European countries, as well as Japan, Australia and South Korea.
The fee, which would be charged only once every two years, would be collected when these travelers apply for pre-authorization to come to the United States.
In addition to marketing America as a destination, the venture would provide information on entry requirements and counter misperceptions of the nation's travel policies, according to the legislation. Its operations would be reviewed by the Commerce Secretary, the U.S. Comptroller General and Congress.
Bipartisan support
Co-sponsored by Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the bill already passed the House of Representatives and enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate, where it is also expected to be approved. President Obama touted it in a visit to tourism-dependent Nevada earlier this month.
Eager to give their tourism industries a boost, state and local officials have praised the effort. It has 53 co-sponsors in the Senate.
But not everyone has gotten on board. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said creating what he called a "government tourism advertising agency" is unnecessary.
"The American travel industry already spends billions every year on advertising with tens of millions focused on international marketing," he wrote in an op-ed piece. "The purpose of the Travel Promotion Act is to subsidize that advertising."
The U.S. Travel Association said that foreign visitors view America's visa and entry process as difficult and unwelcoming. In its view, an advertising campaign to counter that perception will only succeed if it comes with government backing.
Though surveys show that many foreigners view the United States as a desirable place to vacation, fewer are coming here, said Adam Sacks, managing director of Tourism Economics, a subsidiary of Oxford Economics.
"When it comes down to decisions, there are a lot of other destinations that are top of mind," Sacks said.
Overseas travel to the U.S. is down 9% since 2000, said Roger Dow, the travel association's chief executive.
That has hurt the labor-intensive tourism sector, which has lost 441,000 jobs in the last decade, he said. One in eight Americans benefits from the travel industry, the association estimates, either by working directly for a hotel, rental car agency or the like or by being on the payroll of a supplier, such as a taxi service.
"If more people come to the U.S., more Americans work," Dow said.

The bill comes on the heels of a $15 billion jobs measure passed Wednesday by the Senate. The Senate Majority Leader said he plans to introduce a string of employment initiatives in coming days.
from CCMONEY HERE
 

jkarennj

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Earlier in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began requiring visitors from Visa Waiver countries (again - those who do NOT pay the $131) to go online and fill out an ESTA form (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before flying to the US. It is basically a security measure. Click here for details. If the Travel Promotion Act passes, the online form will also be the place where you pay the $10. Approval occurs when your passport info is double-checked against a list of flyers being watched by DHS. Apparently the process is electronic and almost instantaneous - to the adminstrative burden would theoretically be light.
I'm not sure exactly how the fee will be explained on the ESTA application web site, but here is a list of what the bill is supposed to make happen:
• Provide info on entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, and declared public health emergencies to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;
• Counter misperceptions regarding U.S. travel policy around the world;
• Promote increased travel to the U.S. through advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;
• Ensure benefits extend to rural and urban areas equally including areas not traditionally visited by international travelers.
• Give priority to populations most likely to visit the U.S.
Apparently, the ESTA process is only applicable to those getting on an airplane to the US. And Canada and Mexico are NOT part of the Visa Waiver program. I assume once your ESTA has been approved and that data linked to your passport number, you're set for 2 years.
I understand the argument of "what's in it for me?" with regard to the visitor paying the $10. Many taxpayers ask the same question, whether it's property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, toll roads, etc. And of course not all answers are agreeable. If I don't have school-aged kids, but still have to pay $12,000 per year property taxes that mostly go to support the local school system, I might be more upset than the neighbor who has 4 kids in the public schools. Much of what I pay in federal income tax doesn't benefit me personally. Do your visitors ask how does your occupancy tax benefit them? Do some not come because of the occupancy taxes? Adding fees for entry would restrict inbound travel like occupancy taxes restrict travel. In the grand scheme of things, in my humble opinion, they are negligible. I don't cancel plans to rent a car when I see the fees add up to about 50% of the total charge. I don't cancel my stay at a B&B when I hear the occupancy taxes are 11%. I don't think anyone would cancel plans to come to America due to a $10 fee that covers them for 2 years.
I'm not sure why it was chosen that only Visa Waiver nationals must pay the fee and not ALL visitors. Maybe they were concerned that raising $131 to $141 would rock the boat too much. Hopefully, on account of the TPA working as hoped, the visitor will encounter a more robust, healthier tourism industry on account of the resurgence of inbound travel. Maybe that's the "what's in it for me?" Amusement parks that stay open, because they can staff the parks. I know some innkeepers who would agree that a 5% bump in occupancy at their inns could mean the difference between staying in business and taking down the shingle.
My opinion is that the $10 fee is very, very light and will not be an issue. Will it be a lead balloon with some? Probably. But will it inhibit travel that otherwise would have happened? Doubt it.
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes..
jkarennj said:
No one likes new fees. But I guess an appropriate question might be - which does the travel industry like LESS? Imposing and collecting a new $10 fee or a serioiusly sagging and troubling inbound leisure and business travel situation? Collectively, how else would the entire travel/tourism industry effectively do those things outlined in the TPA without the assistance and partnership of the federal government? If you do not think it's important that America market ourselves overseas as a means to boost inbound travel, then I can understand opposition to the bill. Or, if you firmly believe that it's not the role of the federal government to involve itself in economic stimulus like this, then I can understand opposition to the bill. I suppose I would weigh those positions against the potential outcomes, rather than isolate those positions independent of potential outcomes.
I'll just have to say, Jay, that you're losing my already lukewarm support altogether with that last paragraph.
I believe it's a false argument to say it's either impose a $10 fee or accept sagging tourism. I believe there are, indeed, other means to accomplish the same goal.
And I do not say that for the political reasons that you're describing. I say that from the practical perspective of what will work best and what will, at the same time, not create any badwill among potential visitors.
I think we all have the right to our opinions and if anyone doesn't support this for any reason, well, I'd like to see folks okay with that. Including you. They don't need to have a political standpoint to disagree with the means of increasing tourism.
I personally don't react well to those sort of assumptions. And I don't think I'm alone in that.
.
My intent was not to portray it as either you are for us or you're against us...or you support the $10 fee or live with a sagging travel economy, because I know the $10 fee is not a guaranteed cure-all. I wasn't making the argument - I was posing a question that I think is a legitimate way of examining the bill and what it hopes to accomplish.
This isn't the first and only idea to come to the table. Maybe I should have said that the travel industry (through the former Travel Industry Association, now called the US Travel Association) for years and years could not figure out how to collectively and effectively market America as a destination through other means. They tried launching and supporting programs, such as www.discoveramerica.com. There's never been the large-scale funding needed to make it work. It doesn't mean better ideas don't exist, but none have won the general support of the travel industry leadership like this one has, and the travel industry has to provide matching resources under this law.
Internal opposition to the bill has primarily focused on the opinion that it's not the federal government's role to promote America - let the private interests within the country bear the cost of promoting inbound travel. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been the most vocal. And I'm perfectly ok with that argument. Everyone probably draws a line in the sand in their own minds with regard to what the federal government should and should not engage in. I think this is one case where a public-private partnership makes good sense, even though I too am warm (not red hot) on the whole concept.
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
.
jkarennj said:
But because I'm generally warm on it and agree with it and think it's good enough, I'm going to support it and try to garner support. Of course everyone has a right to their opinions - including opposition to the bill. It doesn't mean I won't try to persuade someone to change their opinion about the bill.
Understood.
But my point is that you'll garner more support by being open to the myriad of reasons for opposition rather than only understanding opposition based on political ideology.
Not to mention the fact that the same folks who could never agree on implementation of this idea privately would be likely candidates to serve on the nonprofit. Why will they be more successful now?
I believe, BTW, that it is absolutely in all of our best interests for the government to be involved in promoting tourism abroad. And when I say all of us, I mean all of us Americans, not only all of us innkeepers.
I am not at all convinced, though, that this is the appropriate vehicle for that. Or that the nonprofit formed will be successful in accomplishing its goals.
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I'm not sure it's a matter of the travel industry leadership not agreeing on how a campaign could be implemented...I think they couldn't figure out how to fund it. The TPA is their best solution to that problem.
I'd love to hear other forms of opposition to the bill - you bet! I am open-minded to them. Can you tell I love debate? :) My opinion too can be swayed. Here are reasons for opposition that I've heard so far:
  • The $10 fee will or could inhibit travel
  • The $10 fee will only cause Visa Waiver countries to in turn impose more fees on US travelers
  • The federal government has no business doing this
All are valid arguments, concerns or reasons to oppose it.
And then there's the argument that even a well-funded, well-executed campaign will not be enough to increase inbound travel. But, that's a hypothetical...just like it's hypothetical that it WILL increase inbound travel. In the end, it's a gamble. One that I'm willing to bet the visitor's ten bucks on.
 
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