Alexander Says Bill Will Grow Tennessee’s $14 Billion Tourism Industry, Protect More Than 182,000 Tennessee Jobs

Legislation Will Promote Travel to United States, Boost Economy

Posted on February 26, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that the Travel Promotion Act, of which he is a cosponsor, that passed the Senate last night will help promote international travel to Tennessee’s historic landmarks. 

“Tourism brought over $14 billion to the Tennessee economy in 2008 and accounts for more than 182,000 jobs in our state, according to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development,” Alexander said.  “This bill will help bring more world travelers to our wonderful state to see the blue haze of our Great Smoky Mountains and come hear the blues in Memphis and country music in Nashville—and that means more jobs for Tennessee.” 

The Travel Promotion Act of 2009—which passed the Senate by a vote of 78 to 18—will encourage international travel to all regions of the United States by: 

  • Establishing a nationally coordinated travel promotion program to promote travel to the United States.
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  • Creating the Corporation for Travel Promotion, an independent, non-profit corporation governed by an 11-member board of directors appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. It also creates an Office of Travel Promotion in the Department of Commerce to develop programs to increase the number of international visitors to the United States.
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  • Setting up a Travel Promotion Fund that will pay for activities to encourage people from around the world to visit the United States.  Federal contributions to the Fund will be financed by a small fee paid by foreign travelers from Visa Waiver countries and be capped at $100 million per year.  The travel industry must match these funds starting with a 50 percent match in 2011 and a 100 percent match in 2012 and beyond.