US Travel Promotion Act will help growth

The president and chief executive
officer of the US Travel Association is confident that the US travel industry
will see positive growth in 2010.

Roger Dow was speaking at
International Pow Wow 2010 at Orlando, Florida, a major international trade
show for the American travel industry.

He said that the Travel Promotion
Act that had been signed into legislation in March 2010 would create the first
ever promotion and communications programme for the United States.

“The Travel Promotion Act will
establish the Corporation for Travel Promotion, a public-private entity
designed to better inform foreign travellers about important entry policies,
breaking news developments that affect travel and promote the vast opportunities
to visit a nation that’s blessed with so many natural and diverse assets,” Mr..
Dow told delegates.

Additional jobs

Oxford Economics had estimated in a
newly-released study that the act would generate an additional 1.6 million tourists
to America each year and create 40,000 jobs. This could translate to an extra
$4 billion spending in the sector.

The promotion act’s programme will
be funded by a $10 charge biannually for all visitors whose countries
participate in the visa waiver programme.

It was announced in early May that
by the end of the summer all visa waiver countries’ citizens would be able to
fill in their details online through the Electronic System of Travel
Authorisation, rather than using the previous green arrival/departure form. All
US airports will participate in the scheme by the end of the summer, said the Department
of Homeland Security.

Fares increasing

Transatlantic air fares are
increasing, according to a study by bestfares.com. It noted that between $80
and $100 has been added to prices from the US to Europe, both due to higher oil
prices and also because of airlines cutting back the amount of available seats
at a time when demand is steadying toward pre-downturn levels, said the report.

President of the World Travel and
Tourism Council, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, said that it was important that the
industry took note of market trends.

“It would be remiss of the industry
not to keep a watchful eye on the price of oil, given its impact on the
aviation sector and other transportation that relies on it. Price [increases]
are sometimes passed on to consumers, although there is little evidence that
this has a significant impact on their travel plans.

“And while prices rise and fall,
the industry remains resilient. Additionally, the travel and tourism industry,
alongside governments, is at the forefront of exploring new technologies and
new fuel sources to reduce our reliance on oil,” he said.

The chief executive officer was
speaking at the annual Global Travel and Tourism summit at Beijing, China. It
is a high-level gathering of government officials, industry chairmen and chief
executives.

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