The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday it will begin collecting fees on travelers from Visa Waiver countries to fund a new tourism-promotion campaign.
Travelers will be charged a $14 fee when applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization. A portion of the fee will go toward funding the Corporation for Travel Promotion, created by the 2009 Travel Promotion Act.
The global marketing and promotion campaign will begin Sept. 8, 2010 in hopes of increasing international visitors to the United States to spur economic growth and create employment opportunities.
“This is an important milestone in the implementation of the Travel Promotion Act,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Creating a tourism promotion program to encourage international visitors to vacation in America will help spur economic growth and create more jobs.”
Travel and tourism totals $120 billion and supports more than one million American jobs. Overseas visitors spend an average of $4,000 per person, per trip in the United States.
The new program is estimated to generate around $4 billion and 40,000 new jobs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the program will reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million in the next 10 years.
Locke will appoint the board of directors for the Corporation for Travel Promotion, as explained in a statement.