Media contact: Kelly Schulz, 504-421-0962, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have great news to share about a major victory, which is the first step to regenerating international travel to New Orleans. Last night the U.S. Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act and the bill is going to President Obama for signature into law in the coming days.
This historic vote, which gained final passage by a bipartisan vote of 78 to 18 in the Senate, will help the United States welcome millions of new international visitors and create thousands of American jobs. The Travel Promotion Act establishes a multi-million dollar, public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and better explain travel security policies to foreign travelers.
As a member of the U.S. Travel Association’s Executive Committee, I can assure you that we lobbied for this important legislation for quite some time. The passage of the Travel Promotion Act is a tremendous victory for New Orleans and the entire travel industry.
Louisiana is fortunate to have a Congressional Delegation whose members understand the power of tourism. On behalf of New Orleans’ entire hospitality industry, I would like to recognize and express our deep gratitude to Senator Landrieu and Senator Vitter for their vote on the Travel Promotion Act in the Senate, as well as members of the House of Representatives for their vote in October 2009: Congressman Alexander, Congressman Boustany, Congressman Cao, Congressman Cassidy, Congressman Fleming, Congressman Melancon and Congressman Scalise.
According to independent analysis by Oxford Economics, the program could attract 1.6 million additional visitors from other countries and create more than $4 billion in consumer spending annually. For New Orleans, that means an increased market share of international visitors, which leads to more jobs, and a boost to the city’s most important economic engine.
Historically, ten percent of all visitors to New Orleans were from outside of the United States. While our level of annual visitors has increased year-over-year since Katrina, from 3.7 million visitors in 2006 to 7.6 million in 2008, it has been a challenge to achieve pre-Katrina levels of international visitors for several reasons.
The Travel Promotion Act will allow us to accelerate our aggressive sales, marketing and public relations internationally with our offices in the UK, Germany, Mexico and France. We also will pursue co-operative agreements with other CVBs around the country, particularly the Southern region, to encourage international travelers to visit multiple cities and states once they arrive in the U.S. The opportunities are endless.
The New Orleans CVB will keep you posted on the next steps. Following enactment, the U.S. Travel Association will provide a complete toolkit of resources on the implementation of the Travel Promotion Act. In the meantime, for more information, please visit www.poweroftravel.org or www.ustravel.org.
President and CEO, New Orleans CVB
Executive Committee Member, U.S. Travel Association