WASHINGTON -- States would be eligible for federal matching grants
to help fund certain tourism marketing initiatives under a bill
introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Foley, (R-Fla.).
Dubbed the American Travel Promotion Act, the bill would
"provide $100 million to match the money states and territories
spend on travel and tourism through advertising," Foley said during
a press conference on Capitol Hill.
"Although $100 million may not sound like a lot of money," said
Foley, co-chairman of the Travel and Tourism Caucus, "the impact
will be felt from coast to coast. There isn't a district in this
nation that is not impacted by travel and tourism."
Foley said every state would be eligible for 50% of what it
spent on advertising through its travel and tourism office during
the 1999-2000 fiscal year or if it spent at least $100,000 on
The travel industry has not recovered from the terrorist attacks
in New York and Washington, Foley said, noting that since Sept. 11
airplanes have been flying below capacity and hotel occupancy rates
generally remain soft.
According to Foley's office, fourth quarter travel projects show
business travel is expected to decrease 12%, while inbound travel
is expected to drop 13%. At the same time, leisure travel will be
off at least 9% for the quarter.
Meanwhile, AAA forecasts travel over the traditionally busy
Thanksgiving holiday will be down 6%.
"We are about to lose nearly $60 billion in spending by
travelers," he said. "We have to do something to make this
Otherwise, Foley said, "our economy will continue to