Getting America Back on the Traveling Track
The U.S. tourism industry is
projected to lose $33 billion and more than 527,000 tourism jobs
this year because of the tourism slowdown after September 11. To
help combat the situation, President Bush is appearing in 30-second
television ads encouraging viewers to travel to and within the U.S.
The ad campaign organized by the Travel Industry Association of
America (TIA) will start in the U.S. and will be aired later on
Canadian, Japanese, U.K., and other European TV stations. Television
spots aside, many travel providers are enticing people with
Offers You Can't
To spur travel again, airlines, cruise lines,
hotels, tour operators, and other travel suppliers have produced a
bevy of promotions and deals.
For example, Apple Vacations has a seven-night package with
airfare for the all-inclusive resort Bahia Principe on Mexico's
Riviera Maya for $598 per person (based on double occupancy until
December 15). Last year, this same package was $828. Amtrak is
running fares as low as four dollars in some markets. The Puerto Rico
Tourism Bureau is offering free airfare if you book a five-night package to
Spur of the moment travel can yield big savings.
Recently, my family and I journeyed at the last minute to Niagara
Falls and Washington D.C. Rates for hotels, tours, and meals were
very inexpensive—under $200 for a family of four for two days.
Clearly, offers I couldn't refuse.
Good deals may not be enough to get people in the
traveling mood. Congressional leaders are looking to give the travel
and tourism industry an additional boost with proposed tax breaks
In October, several lawmakers introduced a
bill to encourage Americans to resume travel. The Travel America Now
Act (S.1500/H.R. 3041), which has yet to be passed, would give
people a tax credit for personal travel for trips more than 100
miles from home. The credit would be for up to $500 for individuals
and $1,000 for couples. All travel expenses could be used toward the
credit, including plane, bus, and train tickets; gasoline; hotel;
restaurant; entertainment expenses; travel agency and tour fees; and
all applicable taxes.
Travel is a Key to
Like many of you, the tragic events of September 11
have caused me to ask myself some tough questions regarding the role
of travel in our lives. But I truly believe travel is one of the
keys to finding some peace, and now more than ever is the time to
travel. We could certainly use a break, and the incentives aren't
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