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  • Promoting Tourism by Taxing Tourists?

    Times Square, New York City

    The Senate will soon vote on the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The Act would create a government-run public relations campaign funded by a tax on international visitors. It is being touted as a way to increase travel to the United States. But the economic downturn has not just hit the United States—worldwide pocket books are feeling the crunch. Adding more money to the price tag of travel to the U.S. will likely just encourage international travelers to take a staycation, or spend their money on a trip to another country.

    The U.S. tourism industry has definitely been hurt by the recent economic downturn. And it is a vital U.S. industry that must be supported. In 2008, foreign travelers spent more than $100 billion in the United States. Congress should focus, instead, on streamlining visa procedures and processes in a way that keeps Americans safe, but also encourages more folks to come here. The Visa Waiver Program—which allows foreign travelers from certain countries to come to the U.S. without a visa—is a great way to increase travel to the U.S., while stopping terrorists from ever getting here. Heritage Foundation’s new Backgrounder, A Plan to Build on Success, describes how Visa Waiver meets both economic, public diplomacy, and security goals.

    While taxes might put more money in the coffers of the federal government treasury, it won’t do much to help this ailing sector of the economy. It’s time for Congress to do what it needs to do—make travel easier—and leave the rest to the private sector.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Promoting Tourism by Taxing Tourists?

    1. Geoff, Washington DC says:

      Don't forget that other countries are charging Americans a fortune to go in and out of their nations — and they use that money to fund promotion programs against the United States. If the U.S. fee is reinvested in travel promotion — as outlined in the bill — that will lead to an increase in travelers spending their money in the United States. As the private sector knows, you have to ask people to buy your product.

    2. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 06/17/09 NoisyRoom.net: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the face of tyranny is no virtue.” Barry Goldwater

    3. Thomas, Northern NY says:

      They'll probably give the money to ACORN, and put them in charge of the promotion program.

      Millions spent on colorful brochures of downtown Detroit, printed by a Democrat donator printer, and sitting in a warehouse somewhere at additional expense.

      The new bureaucracy will cost more than the tourist dollars gained. But that doesn't matter, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    4. Normca says:

      Is this how we restore respect for America ? The empty words of democrats have said for years, respect has declined. The announcement of the closure of GITMO was to earn respect. Now, welcome to America – pay up. These idiots only know how to promote losing propositions.

    5. Pingback: Promoting Tourism by Taxing Tourists? « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    6. Pingback: The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room » MIDDAY ROUNDUP

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