WASHINGTON -- The Travel Industry Association of America said it
intends to lobby Congress this fall to approve legislation that
would create a public/private sector-funded tourism marketing
entity to promote travel in the U.S. for domestic and international
"I envision a national tourism marketing corporation that one
day will boost domestic and international marketing exponentially,"
said TIA president William Norman, during a speech before the
Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism.
"I foresee marketing partnerships at home that will create
unequaled opportunities for organizations large and small," he
In recent years, TIA has lobbied Congress to fund a proposed
public/private sector entity called the U.S. National Tourism
Organization to promote U.S. travel to inbound visitors, but that
However, Norman indicated that TIA has something different in
mind this time.
Norman said the proposed marketing corporation would be modeled
after similar entities already in operation, such as Visit Florida,
a marketing program created in 1996.
Though it receives what Norman called "substantial public
funding," he added that "its lifeblood is direct private-sector
investment from travel industry partners.
Norman said California and Canada also have had success
emulating the Visit Florida model.
"This is a proven model," he said. "We're talking about a new
breed of public/private corporation that is as far from a
government bureaucracy as can be imagined. It works, runs and
produces like a lean, hungry private-sector business does."
Norman said the U.S. is "the only major industrialized country"
whose national government is not involved in a tourism promotion
partnership with private industry.
Meanwhile, Norman said, the U.S. is losing market share to other
destinations that pour funding into tourism promotion.
"That's why I invite you to join us in a mission to convince
Congress and the [Bush] administration why a national tourism
marketing corporation is important," Norman said.
"And I want to emphasize that this is an entity that would
promote domestic as well as international tourism."