The Senate on Wednesday passed the Travel Promotion Act in a 79-19 vote. The measure is designed to promote the U.S. as a travel destination to people in other countries and communicate information about U.S. security and entry procedures.
A new Corporation for Travel Promotion at the Commerce Department would undertake these responsibilities, and it would be jointly funded by the government and the travel industry.
The government contribution would come from a $10 fee paid by visitors from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, and those funds would be matched by the private sector.
The Travel Promotion Act, which has had broad bipartisan support, sailed through the House last year but stalled in the Senate this summer. On the Senate floor, the bill was caught up in other matters, as members of both parties attempted to add unrelated amendments.
At the time, a motion to end debate and bring the bill up for a vote failed, leaving the measure in limbo and leading some to deem the legislation dead.
However, the Senate on Tuesday invoked cloture on the measure, setting the stage for a floor vote on Wednesday.
The U.S. Travel Association is now pushing for action in the House, where a similar measure with 69 sponsors and cosponsors is pending. After taking the lead in the last session of Congress, the House this year waited for action in the Senate.
The House bill is essentially the same measure approved in the previous session of Congress. Representatives could take up the pending House bill or the bill just approved in the Senate.