S.1661 - Travel Promotion Act of 2007
A bill to communicate United States travel policies and improve marketing and other activities designed to increase travel in the United States from abroad.
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June 19, 2007
Mr. DORGAN (for himself, Mr. STEVENS, and Mr. INOUYEMr. INOUYE, Mr. SMITH, Mr. MARTINEZ, Mr. KERRY, Mr. ENSIGN, Mr. PRYOR, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mrs. BOXER, Mr. COLEMAN, Mr. CONRAD, Mr. BIDEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. COCHRAN, Mr. VITTER, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. AKAKA, Mr. DOMENICI, Mr. BINGAMAN, Ms. LANDRIEU, Mr. BAUCUS, Mr. ENZI, Mr. SCHUMER, Mrs. MURRAY, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. HATCH, Mr. SPECTER, and Mr. BOND) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
November 27 (legislative day, NOVEMBER 16), 2007
[Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic]
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
SEC. 2. THE CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- The Corporation for Travel Promotion is established as a nonprofit corporation. The Corporation shall not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. The Corporation shall be subject to the provisions of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (D.C. Code, section 29-1001 et seq.), to the extent that such provisions are consistent with this section, and shall have the powers conferred upon a nonprofit corporation by that Act to carry out its purposes and activities.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The Corporation shall have a board of directors of 14[Struck out->]
14[<-Struck out] 15 members, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, who are United States citizens with professional expertise and experience in the fields of travel, international travel promotion, and marketing and broadly represent various regions of the Nation, of whom--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) INCORPORATION- The members of the initial board of directors shall serve as incorporators and shall take whatever actions are necessary to establish the Corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (D.C. Code, section 29-1001 et seq.).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) VACANCIES- Any vacancy in the board shall not affect its power, but shall be filled in the manner required by this section. Any member whose term has expired may serve until the member's successor has taken office, or until the end of the calendar year in which the member's term has expired, whichever is earlier. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which that member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder of the predecessor's term. No member of the board shall be eligible to serve more than 2 consecutive full terms.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN- Members of the board shall annually elect one of their members to be Chairman and elect 1 or more of their members as a Vice Chairman or Vice Chairmen.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) STATUS AS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES- Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no member of the board may be considered to be a Federal employee of the United States by virtue of his or her service as a member of the board.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) COMPENSATION; EXPENSES- No member shall receive any compensation from the Federal government for serving on the Council[Struck out->]
Council.[<-Struck out] Board. Each member of the Council[Struck out->]
Council[<-Struck out] Board shall be paid actual travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence expenses when away from his or her usual place of residence, in accordance with
(1) IN GENERAL- The Corporation shall have a President, and such other officers as may be named and appointed by the board for terms and at rates of compensation fixed by the board. No individual other than a citizen of the United States may be an officer of the Corporation. The corporation may hire and fix the compensation of such employees as may be necessary to carry out its purposes. No officer or employee of the Corporation may receive any salary or other compensation (except for compensation for services on boards of directors of other organizations that do not receive funds from the Corporation, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations) from any sources other than the Corporation for services rendered during the period of his or her employment by the Corporation. Service by any officer on boards of directors of other organizations, on committees of such boards, and in similar activities for such organizations shall be subject to annual advance approval by the board and subject to the provisions of the Corporation's Statement of Ethical Conduct. All officers and employees shall serve at the pleasure of the board.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) NONPOLITICAL NATURE OF APPOINTMENT- No political test or qualification shall be used in selecting, appointing, promoting, or taking other personnel actions with respect to officers, agents, or employees of the Corporation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) PROFIT- No part of the income or assets of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of any director, officer, employee, or any other individual except as salary or reasonable compensation for services.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) to provide useful information to foreign tourists and others interested in travelling to the United States, including the distribution of material provided by the Federal Ggovernment concerning entry requirements, required documentation, fees, and processes, to prospective travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international stakeholders;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) to maximize the economic and diplomatic benefits of travel to the United States by promoting the United States of America to world travelers through the use of, but not limited to, all forms of advertising, outreach to trade shows, and other appropriate promotional activities;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(f) OPEN MEETINGS- Meetings of the board of directors of the Corporation, including any committee of the board, shall be open to the public. The board may, by majority vote, close any such meeting only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, to discuss personnel matters, or to discuss legal matters affecting the Corporation, including pending or potential litigation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(g) MAJOR CAMPAIGNS- The board may not authorize the Corporation to obligate or expend more than $25,000,000 on any advertising campaign, promotion, or related effort unless--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) each member of the board has been given at least 3 days advance notice of the meeting at which the vote is to be taken and the matters to be voted upon at that meeting.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) ANNUAL AUDITS- The Corporation shall engage an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual financial audit of the Corporation's operations and shall publish the results of the audit. The Comptroller General shall have full and complete access to the books and records of the Corporation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES.
(a) OBJECTIVES- The Board shall establish annual objectives for the Corporation for each fiscal year subject to approval by the Secretary. The Corporation shall establish a marketing plan for each fiscal year not less than 60 days before the beginning of that year and provide a copy of the plan, and any revisions thereof, to the Secretary.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) BUDGET- The board shall transmit a copy of the Corporation's budget for the forthcoming fiscal year to the Secretary no later than August 16 immediately preceding that fiscal year, together with an explanation of any expenditure provided for by the budget in excess of $5,000,000 for the fiscal year. The Corporation shall make a copy of the budget and the explanation available to the public and shall provide public access to the budget and explanation on the Corporation's website.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS- The Corporation shall submit an annual report for the preceding fiscal year to the Secretary of Commerce for transmittal to the Congress on or before the 15th day of May of each year. The report shall include--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. MATCHING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDING.
(1) FIRST YEAR- For fiscal year 2008, the Corporation may borrow from the Treasury beginning on October 1, 2007, such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $10,000,000, to cover its initial expenses and activities under this Act. Before October 1, 2012, the Corporation shall reimburse the [Struck out->]
Treasury, without interest,[<-Struck out] Treasury for any such amounts borrowed from the Treasury, using funds deposited in the Fund from non-Federal sources. Amounts borrowed from the Treasury shall bear interest at a rate determined appropriate by the Secretary of Treasury, taking into consideration the average interest rate on all interest bearing obligations of the United States then forming a part of the public debt, computed at the end of the fiscal year next preceding the date on which the borrowing occurs, adjusted to the nearest 1/8 of 1 percent. Amounts reimbursed to the Treasury shall be treated as matching funds from non-Federal sources for purposes of subsection (c) in the fiscal year in which such reimbursements are made.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) SUBSEQUENT YEARS- For each of fiscal years 2009 through 2012, from amounts deposited in the general fund of the Treasury during the preceding fiscal year from fees under [Struck out->]
section 5 of this Act, the Secretary of the[<-Struck out] section 217(h)(3)(B)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (
(A) for fiscal year 2009, the Corporation provides matching funds from non-Federal sources equal in the aggregate to 50 percent or more of the amount transferred to the Fund under subsection (b); andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) for any fiscal year after fiscal year 2009, the Corporation provides matching funds from non-Federal sources equal in the aggregate to 100 percent of the amount transferred to the Fund under subsection (b) for the fiscal year.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) CARRYFORWARD- The amount of any matching funds received by the Corporation in fiscal year 2009, 2010, or 2011 that cannot be used as matching funds in the fiscal year in which received may be carried forward and treated as having been received in the succeeding fiscal year for purposes of meeting the matching requirement of paragraph (1) in such succeeding fiscal year.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. ELECTRONIC TRAVEL PROMOTION FUND FEES.IfAUTHORIZATION SYSTEM.
`(A) SYSTEM- The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is authorized to develop and implement a fully automated electronic traveler authorization system to collect such basic biographical information in orderas the Secretary of Homeland Security determines to be necessary to determine, in advance of travel, the eligibility of an alien to travel to the United States is implemented, the United States Governmentunder the visa waiver program. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(B) FEES- The Secretary of Homeland Security may charge a fee to an applicant for the use of the system. The amount of any such fee initially shall be at least $10, plus such amounts as may be necessary to cover the cost of operating such a system, but may be reduced thereafter if that amount is not, which shall be-- CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(iii) include an amount, initially not more than $10, for transfer to the Travel Promotion Fund established by section 4 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2007 necessary to ensure that the Corporation for Travel Promotion established by section 2 of that Act is fully funded. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(i) PERIOD- The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State shall prescribe regulations that provide for a period, not to exceed 3 years, during which a determination of eligibility to travel under the program will be valid. Notwithstanding any other provision under this section, the Secretary of Homeland Security may revoke any such determination at any time and for any reason. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(ii) LIMITATION- A determination that an alien is eligible to travel to the United States under the visa waiver program is not a determination that the alien is admissible to the United States. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(D) REPORT- Not later than 60 days before publishing notice regarding the implementation of the system in the Federal Register, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit a report regarding the implementation of the system to the Congress.'. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. ASSESSMENT AUTHORITY.
(a) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Corporation may impose an annual assessment on United States members of the international travel and tourism industry (other than those described in section 2(b)(1)(D), (H), or (I)) represented on the Board in proportion to their share of the aggregate international travel and tourism revenue of the industry.(b) The Corporation shall be responsible for verifying, implementing, and collecting the assessment authorized by this section.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) INITIAL ASSESSMENT LIMITED- The Corporation may establish the initial assessment after the date of enactment of the Travel and Tourism Promotion Act at no greater, in the aggregate, than $20,000,000.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) determine the results of the referendum on the basis of weighted voting apportioned according to each business entity's relative share of the aggregate annual United States international travel and tourism revenue for the industry per business entity, treating all related entities as a single entity.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The Corporation shall establish a means of collecting the assessment that it finds to be efficient and effective. The Corporation may establish a late payment charge and rate of interest to be imposed on any person who fails to remit or pay to the Corporation any amount assessed by the Corporation under this Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(e) INVESTMENT OF FUNDS- Pending disbursement pursuant to a program, plan, or project, the Corporation may invest funds collected through assessments, and any other funds received by the Corporation, only in obligations of the United States or any agency thereof, in general obligations of any State or any political subdivision thereof, in any interest-bearing account or certificate of deposit of a bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, or in obligations fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. UNDER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.
`SEC. 202. OFFICE OF TRAVEL PROMOTION.
`(1) IN GENERAL- The head of the Office shall be the Under Secretary of Commerce for Travel Promotion. The Under Secretary shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(3) LIMITATION ON INVESTMENTS- The Under Secretary may not own stock in, or have a direct or indirect beneficial interest in, a corporation or other enterprise engaged in the travel, transportation, or hospitality business or in a corporation or other enterprise that owns or operates theme park or other entertainment facility.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) serve as liaison to the Corporation for Travel Promotion established by section 2 of the Travel Promotion Act of 2007 and support and encourage the development of programs to increase the number of international visitors to the United States for business, leisure, educational, medical, exchange, and other purposes;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(A) to disseminate information more effectively to potential international visitors about documentation and procedures required for admission to the United States as a visitor; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(d) REPORTS TO CONGRESS- Within a year after the date of enactment of the Travel Promotion Act of 2007, and periodically thereafter as appropriate, the Under Secretary shall transmit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce describing the Under Secretary's work with the Corporation, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out subsection (c)(2).'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) The International Travel Act of 1961 (
SEC. 8. RESEARCH PROGRAM.
Title II of the International Travel Act of 1961 (
6,[<-Struck out] 7, is further amended by inserting after section 202 the following:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`SEC. 203. RESEARCH PROGRAM.
`(a) IN GENERAL- The Office of Travel and Tourism Industries shall expand and continue its research and development activities in connection with the promotion of international travel to the United States, including--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) expanding access to the official Mexican travel surveys data to provide the States with traveler characteristics and visitation estimates for targeted marketing programs;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(2) revising the Commerce Department's Survey of International Travelers questionnaire and report formats to accommodate a new survey instrument, expanding the respondent base, improving response rates, and improving market coverage;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(3) developing estimates of international travel exports (expenditures) on a State-by-State basis to enable each State to compare its comparative position to national totals and other States;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce for fiscal years 2008 through 2012 such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 9. MODEL PORTS-OF-ENTRY.
(1) establish a model ports-of-entry program for the purpose of providing a more efficient and welcoming international arrival process in order to facilitate and promote business and tourist travel to the United States, while also improving security; and CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) implement the program initially at the 20 United States international airports that have the highest number of foreign visitors arriving annually as determined pursuant to the most recent data collected by the United States Customs and Border Protection available on the date of enactment of this Act. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) assistance for foreign travelers once they have been admitted to the United States, in consultation, as appropriate, with relevant governmental and nongovernmental entities; and CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) instructional videos, in English and such other languages as the Secretary determines appropriate, in the Federal Inspection Services area that explain the United States inspection process and feature national, regional, or local welcome videos. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) ADDITIONAL CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION OFFICERS FOR HIGH VOLUME PORTS- Subject to the availability of appropriations, not later than the end of fiscal year 2008 the Secretary of Homeland Security shall employ not fewer than an additional 200 Customs and Border Protection officers over the number of such positions for which funds were appropriated for the preceding fiscal year to address staff shortages at the 20 United States international airports that have the highest number of foreign visitors arriving annually as determined pursuant to the most recent data collected by the United States Customs and Border Protection available on the date of enactment of this Act. CommentsClose CommentsPermalink