Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.
“This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and the one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The United States Congress has sent a clear message that travel is a high priority to our nation and that tangible steps must be taken to increase travel to and within the United States.
For more on the legislation and what it means for the USA visit this link.
MEANWHILE THINGS LOOK GLUM FOR TOURISM IN THE OTHER WASHINGTON…
While there was good news from the U.S. Capitol, the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives are debating legislation that would eliminate or greatly reduce the Washington State Tourism office.
Washington State Tourism is responsible for generating travel to the state through sales efforts, marketing and partnerships with local communities and regions.
“If we allow our state tourism efforts to crumble, all the other states will benefit from this new national tourism effort except us,” stated John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau and President of the Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations.
Tourism professionals fear that if the state tourism office is eliminated, travel to Washington State will decline as it did in the 1990s when Colorado eliminated their tourism office for a few years. According to a 2005 study conducted by Longwoods International in 2005, within two years of eliminating the tourism office Colorado lost one third of its market share among U.S. tourists. This translated to lost annual visitor spending of $1.4 billion initially, growing to over $2 billion by the end of the decade.
“We can’t afford to have Washington state follow in Colorado’s footsteps,” Cooper stated.
Tourism is a $14 billion industry in Washington state, employing more than 147,000 people and generating in excess of $1.0 billion in state and local taxes.
Washington residents are encouraged to click THIS LINK to take action and save state tourism efforts.