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Mayor Mufi Hannemann today thanked the U.S. House of Representatives for approving the Travel Promotion Act yesterday, and said he is very grateful that U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye is championing the measure.


“We are very pleased that this important legislation is moving forward to boost the visitor industry and help improve our nation’s economy,” said Mayor Hannemann, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports. “We’re grateful to the House for endorsing this effort, and we will continue working hard to win approval by the Senate.”


The Travel Promotion Act is designed to create jobs and help boost the U.S. economy by encouraging overseas travelers to visit. The measure would establish a Corporation for Travel Promotion as a nonprofit entity to promote the U.S. as a premier international travel destination; provide information to people interested in traveling here; and identify and address perceptions in other countries regarding U.S. entry policies.


The bill specifies that travel promotion would be financed through private sector contributions and a modest fee on foreign travelers, with no cost to U.S. taxpayers. Nearly every developed nation in the world spends millions of dollars each year to attract visitors.


The House approved the measure on Thursday, following passage by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce earlier in the week. Mayor Hannemann applauded Hawaii Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono for their support.


The U.S. Conference of Mayors urged creation of the Travel Promotion Act in the “Mayors’ 10 Point Action Plan” outlining its priorities for the next presidential administration, and conference leaders provided the House with letters of support for the measure. Mayor Hannemann led the effort to include tourism and the arts as priorities.


Conference President Manny Diaz, mayor of Miami, has asked Mayor Hannemann to lead the group’s effort to win Senate approval of the Travel Promotion Act. Mayor Hannemann has been working closely with Travel Business Roundtable President Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels, and other industry leaders who strongly support the measure.


Two million fewer overseas travelers visited the United States in 2007 than in 2000. The decline in overseas travel since 9/11 has cost America 46 million visitors, $140 billion in lost visitor spending and $23 billion in lost tax revenue.


Contact: Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Friday, September 26, 2008

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