The ESTA will help promote American tourism and educate overseas visitors.
16 March 2010
ESTA and Travel Promotion Act ‘best opportunity for American tourism in 25 years’
The ability to actively market American tourism will be the best opportunity for the industry in 25 years, the president of the US Travel Association said.
Roger Dow made the statement in Berlin following President Obama signing the Travel Promotion Act in to law last week.
The Travel Promotion Act established a national body to promote American tourism and disseminate travel information to overseas tourists. The national body will be paid for by a small fee on the ESTA, a travel authorisation for citizens of visa waiver countries to enter the US.
Dow says there have been over 16 million ESTA applications up to date, with a very low rejection rate of under 1 per cent.
He denied seeing the new ESTA fee as a barrier to inbound tourism and predicted that the new tourism marketing board would be a 'win, win' situation bringing in an extra three million international visitors by 2012. Marketing would also introduce them to parts of the country hardly touched by tourism.
The first year's budget of $10 million will come from the Department of Commerce and is just to set up the new marketing organisation.
"With this budget we don't just advertise but we can explain programmes like ESTA and security and arrival issues and deal with problems like last year's H1N1 virus," he said.