CARSON CITY, Nev. — Hard-won congressional passage of the Travel Promotion Act to boost international visitor numbers and stimulate tourism economies is great news for Nevada’s No. 1 industry, Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki, chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), said Friday.
“Nevada needs the benefits of this landmark legislation more than any state because we are hardest hit by national economic challenges that are causing people to spend less on travel,” Krolicki, said. “This legislation, soon to become law, will create jobs in Nevada’s tourism-dependent economy.”
The Travel Promotion Act, which passed the U.S. Senate late Thursday, establishes a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and to communicate U.S. security and entry policies. The bill, now on the president’s desk, is estimated to drive $4 billion in new consumer spending annually, provide $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year and create 40,000 U.S. jobs nationwide, the international economic forecasting service Oxford Economics says.
“This legislation will give the United States a chance to raise our visibility around the world as the destination of choice and compete with other countries for tourists,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said. “The lack of a U.S. organization to promote international travel has hampered our success as contenders in the highly competitive global tourism marketplace, and this legislation will put us into the game where we belong.”
International visitors are essential to Nevada’s tourism-based economy, because they stay longer and spend more, averaging at least $4,000 per trip. NCOT, wholly funded by 3/8 of 1 percent of the room tax that visitors pay, works to attract international visitors by conducting familiarization tours for influential travel journalists and tour operators, promoting the state at trade shows around the world and utilizing representative services in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and China that work directly with their tourism industries to drive business to Nevada.
The Travel Promotion Act is not funded by U.S. taxpayers, but is funded through a matching program featuring up to $100 million in private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. The fee is collected once every two years in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
The measure also is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.