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.