President Barack Obama has signed a bill creating a program to promote the U.S. as a premier tourism destination for international travelers.
The U.S. Travel Association calls it a major step in addressing the drop-off in such visits to the U.S. during the past decade. The association says the U.S. welcomed 2.4 million fewer overseas visitors last year than in 2000. And that, the group says, has cost it an estimated $509 billion in total spending and $32 billion in direct tax receipts.
Government and private industry would evenly split the program’s costs, with Washington contributing up to $100 million a year. That money will come from a $10 fee paid by foreigners who do not pay for visas to enter the U.S.