Federal Bill Calls for Tourism Ad Campaign

WASHINGTON – A new bill calls for the federal government to spend $50 million over two years on a national ad campaign to encourage Americans to travel again following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Tourism Revitalization and Valued Employee Labor Act of 2001, introduced Oct. 16 by U.S. Reps. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., also requires private industry and state and local governments to spend an equal amount on similar efforts. The travel industry, which includes airlines and hotels, spent $3.4 billion on advertising in 1999.

Under the bill’s provisions, $30 million in federal dollars would be spent on advertising and promotion next year, with the remaining $20 million in 2003.

Advertising-industry lobby groups welcomed the proposed legislation. “We applaud the government for this constructive step toward bringing the travel and tourism industry back to health,” said Dick O’Brien, evp of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

“One of the main things the advertising industry and everybody else is concerned about in this country is getting business to move again,” added Dan Jaffe, evp for government relations at the Association of National Advertisers.
Entertainment-industry executives traveled to Washington recently to urge lawmakers to adopt such legislation. Universal Studios Recreation Group svp Fred Lounsberry told a House commerce, trade and consumer-protection subcommittee that the ad campaign should be based on similar efforts in California, New York and Florida that try to persuade people to visit state attractions.

“The federal government should partner with states, local conventions and visitors’ bureaus and private-sector partners to create a national advertising and marketing campaign to encourage Americans to travel again,” Lounsberry told the subcommittee.