Welcome to America, and Pay Ten Dollar

With the attempt to raise $200 million a year for the U.S. travel and tourism industry, foreign visitors will soon need to pay a $10 fee for traveling into the U.S. The bill has been passed by the House; the Senate approved the legislation last Thursday.

While foreign travel worldwide increased 39% since 2000, the number in the U.S. is down 9% for the same period. With a $10 fee, the government plans to “attract 1.6 million additional foreign visitors annually, pumping $4 billion in the economy each year, and creating about 40,000 U.S. jobs.” I hope the government spends this $200 million wisely and turns the U.S. into a must-see destination. If nothing changes, I don’t see how adding a $10 fee will attract more visitors.

Assuming the government would successfully attract more foreign travelers, gateway cities like New York, San Francisco, and LA will probably benefit from this bill the most. California along is expected to see $650 million income from tourist spending and 6,500 more jobs annually. Places like Syracuse probably need to think of a better way to help themselves.

This bill will only apply to the visitors from 35 European and Asian countries who are under the visa waiver programs. Visitors from Mexico or Canada do not have to pay this fee. “Welcome to America, and pay a $10 fee.”

What are your opinions? How do you think this bill will affect the industry?

References:
LA Times: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok03012010
Picture was copied from: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok03012010P

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