U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) today met with key leaders in the South Florida tourism industry to discuss ways to boost tourism in Florida and the United States. Senator Martinez gave an update on a proposal pending before the Senate to create a comprehensive campaign touting the U.S. as a travel destination for international tourists. Those attending the meeting included the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and representatives from the cruise line, airline and hotel companies.
"Over the last decade, tourist traffic to the United States has declined dramatically. Florida alone has lost 1.3 million visitors since 2000. The result is fewer jobs and lower revenues for cities and states," Martinez said. "Foreign countries spend millions promoting themselves as tourist destinations. The U.S. spends nothing. I'm working to pass a bill that's pending in the Senate that will promote travel to the U.S. including Florida. Without using taxpayer dollars, it will provide our economy with a much-needed boost during this difficult time, help to create new jobs, and complement our nation's diplomatic efforts."
The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 would create a non-profit organization to promote and attract international travelers to the United States. The campaign would provide useful information to people interested in traveling to the United States, counter and correct misperceptions regarding U.S. entry policy, and promote U.S. travel. The program would be paid for by private sector contributions and visa fees paid by foreign tourists.