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(Thurs., Feb. 25, 2010, Washington DC)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann tonight expressed his appreciation to the US Senate for approving the Travel Promotion Act, a key priority of the US Conference of Mayors. Hannemann was present in the Senate gallery at the invitation of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to witness the 78 to 18 vote.


            “The mayors made the Travel Promotion Act part of our 10-Point Action Plan and our 2010 Metro Agenda for America, and worked very hard to secure its passage on Capitol Hill,” said Hannemann, a USCM trustee and chairman of its Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports. “The Senate’s approval is wonderful news for our nation, and especially for cities where tourism is a major economic pillar. Given Hawaii’s interest in attracting international visitors to our islands, this measure will definitely help bolster our state’s number one industry.”


            The Travel Promotion Act will create a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate US security and entry policies. The effort will be paid for by private-sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers. The US Travel Association, of which the US Conference of Mayors is a member, estimates that the bill would attract 1.6 million new international visitors, create over 40,000 new jobs in its first year, generate $4 billion in new economic activity and contribute over $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year.


            Hannemann spent part of this week on Capitol Hill urging approval of the measure, and he thanked Hawaii’s Congressional delegation for their support. The US House of Representatives passed the legislation in October, 2009, and it now goes to President Obama for final approval.


            The US Conference of Mayors passed its first resolution in support of the Travel Promotion Act at its 74th Annual Conference in 2006 and has done so every year since. Hannemann was the driving force in ensuring the measure was included in the mayors’ 10-Point Action Plan and 2010 Metro Agenda for America.


 “Since 9/11, mayors have recognized the importance of travel and tourism to their communities,” said US Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran, a former board member of the Travel Business Roundtable. “We’ve lost jobs and businesses in our cities as result of losing our share of the international visitors. This bill will set us on the right course.”




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928