The tourist tariff


The U.S. tourism industry is worried about the slowdown in overseas visitors after the 9/11 attack and the subsequent entry hassles caused by increased security measures. So in a brilliant move the Travel Promotion Act was created and is gaining support in Congress. The act is intended to “promote the US as a premier travel destination" and to educate travellers about the entry process, thus making it less of a bother to visit because they understand and are prepared for security procedures.

It’s an easy piece of legislation for most of Congress to support, as it will not use any American taxpayer monies to finance the campaign. And this is why it will also fail: because the act calls for private sector contributions and a user fee on foreign visitors. So imagine the campaign does its job. You are convinced that a holiday to the United States would be nice and that its not a pain to go through loads of security, but now it is more expensive because you are going to actually pay for the nice little brochures that convinced you. A bit backwards in my opinion to have the tourists pay a tourist tax to promote tourism. I guess economic incentives work differently abroad…