Congress Wants to Cut U.S. Tourism Funds

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Commerce’s plan to launch a $50 million tourism advertising campaign is in jeopardy now that lawmakers have proposed cutting $40 million from the effort.

Language to slash the campaign was put in a conference report for the current appropriations bill pending in Congress, which the House is expected to vote on today. The Senate will likely take up the bill next month.

The DOC’s decision to promote America abroad as a tourist destination is a first for the U.S. and a direct response to losing market share in other countries [Adweek, Sept. 1].

The U.S. hosted 52 million visitors in 2000, but that number dropped to 42 million in 2002, according to DOC figures. Groups such as the Travel Industry Association of America say that unlike the U.S., countries like Canada and Great Britain routinely spend $100 million a year on tourism campaigns.