Great News - President Obama Signs the Travel Promotion Act

March 5, 2010
President Obama Signs Travel Promotion Act Thank you, Mr. President!  President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act into law this week, representing a great victory for our business and the U.S. economy.  We’ve been working on this for years and the credit goes to Senators Reid, Dorgan and Ensign and Congressmen Blunt and Delahunt for a job very well done.  They had great bipartisan support—which is hard to come by these days!

I've blogged about the Travel Promotion Act – or TPA, as we call it – before, and thanks to all of you who weighed in with Congress. It sure paid off.  TPA is historic.  For the first time in our nation’s history we’ll have a promotional campaign to attract international visitors to the United States, and, boy, do we need it.  In 2009 the U.S. welcomed 2.4 million fewer visitors than we did in 2000, while 46 million more travelers were taking long-haul trips.


A new study from Oxford Economics has quantified this “lost decade” for the industry.  In the report, it shows that failure to keep up with this growth in global travel has cost the US economy nearly 70 million visitors, $500 billion in lost revenue, and over 440,000 jobs!  We sure need those jobs back, and the Travel Promotion Act will help bring more visitors here by marketing “brand America” and explaining U.S. security policies.  There is no cost to U.S. taxpayers, and the Congressional Budget Office reports TPA will reduce the deficit by $425 million dollars in the next 10 years.

While TPA is certainly important, we still have work to do to improve our visa and entry processes so that as we welcome more visitors, we ensure they have a positive experience.  Commerce Secretary Locke will be getting the program up and running, so good luck Mr. Secretary, and know the industry is behind you and willing to help where we can.

At Marriott, we’re looking forward to welcoming more travelers to our hotels.  We’re open for business and finally we will be able to tell the world that the United States is open for business, too!

I’m Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Great News President Obama Signs the Travel Promotion Act


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Just over 30 percent of business travelers expect to travel more in future, The results contain no real surprises – corporate spending on business related travel has always risen to match the market. This consistency and resilience makes the business travel industry a valuable source of revenue, and lodging properties are thrust into a realm of ultra-competitiveness to increase their property’s appeal to the company traveler.

Its a very interesting and informative post,thanks a lot for sharing the stuff!

Honnestly, i don't believe it will change anything, or at least it will be tough to see if it has any impact...

This is great news! Congressman blunt has done a lot to help the hospitality/travel industry. I'm anxious to see how this increases numbers across the board.

This is great news as I have lived in Marbella, Spain for the last decade and many of my international friends want to come to the states, but say "it's too big a hassle." Hopefully this will make it easier for them to visit.

wow what a great moment that i am fan of your sir Bill Marriott

After looking at some articles and analyzing the situation what I believe is happening is there is a 10$ fee attached to visitors into the U.S. that do not require Visas in order to come in. This causes the Department to be privately funded in order for them to advertise to other foreign nations and hopefully reduce the troubles of the incoming tourists in gathering visas without taking taxpayers money . I think this will help in the future because China, Brazil, India and Russia are having a huge burst of a new middle class. This is opening a huge market segment of people who will soon be traveling the world in a couple years. This bill may deter travel from what i am understanding to be mostly European countries (which by looking at the numbers has been decreasing over the last 10 years) and will try and focus on getting people from these countries who are experiencing economic booms. You win some and you loose some but in the long run the benefits will outweigh the costs of putting this bill into effect, at least we can all hope.

You know, with Medicare taking a terrible hit, it seems to me you should look to increase internal travel by promoting a "Bucket Trip." That's the trip all seniors want to take, usually across the country and back. How about big discounts for 4-8 weeks of booking rooms every night? That way we could be safe and comfortable.

I've been a very happy Marriott customer for decades. Recently I had a reason to contact the management at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel. I would like to state for the record that Ann *****, Executive Assistant, exemplifies the very best customer serve that I have ever encountered over the decades. Ann ***** is the role model for all others in the service industry.

Lets see what the reaction of theworld turns out to be.

Mr. Marriott,
My first job, when I arrived to the US in 1976, was at the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel, then a Marriott resort hotel.

Since then I've been living the American dream..., achieving a college degree and progressing in the corporate world outside the hospitality industry.

But now, 34 years later, I have the urge to return to the hospitality industry, and I can't think of a better company to tap than the one that gave me my first employment opportunity.

I hope the TPA will enhance my opportunities to rejoining the Marriott family. It would be a dream come true for me!!!

Are stay at J W Marriott in Houston Texas resently was enjoyed except when trying to enter or exit your underground parking. When scaning are room card to get in/out garage was unreadable they always wanted use to try it again after using the intercom, we had the card replaced twice, this went on for 3 days, maybe this could be corrected for your next customers?

I think that a small fee will not discourage tourists and I think the US needs tight and thoughtful security. However, it is critical that the visitors be met by polite and friendly agents and also that there be short waits, clean bathrooms, the ability to buy beverages and pleasant surroundings while people wait for baggage and customs checks.

Bill - I'd like to make you aware of the Strengthening Brand America Project (www.strengtheningbrandamerica.com) and invite you to leave a comment on any blog post that interests you. The Project is an educational community of practice.

Mr. Marriott,

As much as you're interested in TPA and aadvocating the merits. Aren't you interested in establishing "Marriott Presence" in Africa?

I was working with one of your VPs that left on establishment of "Marriott in Africa - Nigeria". And it's been difficult to get hold of anyone to continue the effort.

I apologize for using this medium but it's the only one availbel to get your attention.
You have my unofficial email due to it's a blog. My company is based her ein United States. I was in your London office last year with one of your VPs.

Please respond to my email and I will send you my phone number and official business email address.

Thanks Bill.

Heritage Pakistan, being a nation’s or rather a population’s inheritance is very sacred. It depicts that particular race’s progress, development, and intuition towards the future.

Dear Mr. Marriott:

I trust the great wisdom in your strong advocacy for the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) which brings to mind Warren Buffett’s famous quote: “We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” However most of the comments seem to lack your foresight. Could you do a follow up blog entry which would encompass your foresight and passion of TPA, especially as edification is such a golden transmission? As stated by A. Clarke “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

Thanks for taking us beyond ourselves, as you keep Marriott on the Move.

Mr Marriott

I respectfully disagree with you on this point. Sadly the ESTA nations will replicate the charge at their end meaning this will, in effect, become ANOTHER tax on every tourist / business traveller wishing to take a vacation or business trip. Tourism and business ventures should be encouraged by the removal of taxation not be burdened with more fees and increased bureaucracy. Government and the private sector should find another way of funding what is, without doubt, a righteous endeavour.

NPR had a good segment on this just the other day. You can find it at:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124464001

Most other countries charge $131 for a Visa and have a travel fee. It's time for the US to catch up and go after those tourist dollars.

Great News. I travel a great deal.
Working on a book that is being published by Hachette. Would love to get an interview with you. What is the best way to reach you.

Thanks,

Bill: I think you are wrong on this one. Here is yet another way to tax (and spend). Localities are already imposing hefty hotel taxes on visitors in order to finance stadiums and other local projects. In places like Key West these taxes run about $100 per day. Now the feds want a piece of the action to fund their tax-and-spend policies. I am just waiting for a "breathing tax" to be imposed.

It would be best for Marriott to focus more on customer care and eliminate the policy of overbooking rooms (as they did in my recent stay at the JW Marriott in New Orleans) to make customers long time customers like myself want to stay with you.

Mike Perez

Its really laborious and admirable step by U.S president Barak Obama to uplift the status of travel and tourism.Now is today's era if media is the second light pillar of nation firmness, then travel and tourism is the Third light pillar of nation and economy as well.

Travel to India

I visit America very often, and I don't think a $10 fee is gonna put me off, so I agree with Bill, TPA is a good move. America is a great place to visit and to encourage tourism is great for the US economy, great for employment in the US and lots of fun.

We tried letting people visit "on their own will", and that did not work--we lost over 2 million visitors last year, which is what prompted this. Also, I disagree with the contention that when the government gets involved it means disaster, and that the government can't manage anything well. The media covers only government failures, not successes. A few examples of these are the most powerful military in the world, the vast reduction in food-borne illnesses after the FDA (if you look at the incidence of salmonella in countries that do not regulate food service and compare it to ours, you'll be amazed), the interstate highway system--the list goes on and on. And the reason the government is known for waste and fraud is that its waste and fraud is (and should be) publicly known. Private industry's waste and fraud is usually confidential and doesn't come out until the entire organization collapses. Look at the wonderful examples of private efficiency such as Enron, Worldcom, AIG, Toyota, Chrysler, GM, Pan-Am, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers--that list goes on and on as well. Their inefficiencies and outrages are just hidden away, while they advertise their successes ad nauseum, giving the public a horribly distorted view of public vs. private efficacy.
Regarding another post--if you would bet only the USA has such a "bizarre" approach to promoting itself, you'd lose--although most countries bury their charges in other taxes and airline fees. As was noted above, this has been tried in other countries with huge success. Americans always vastly overestimate the effect taxes have on decisions. It seems to me that the contention that this will stifle tourism has already been proven wrong in numerous other venues.

I agree with Hal that $10 is not that big of deal. I am sure you find many other countries charge some kind of fee. This money will go back to advertisement, marketing, and other incentives. This is a great way to build income without people really feeling the affect. I don't think $10 is going to make or break peoples decision to come to the US. Lets get reasonable.