The National Restaurant Association hailed the passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate, “The Travel Promotion Act,” S. 1023, which would aggressively promote international travel to the United States. The bill passed late Wednesday on a 79-19 vote.

The Travel Promotion Act creates a public-private partnership campaign to market the U.S. as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing the number of international visitors into the country. Increased international travel to the U.S. would strongly benefit restaurants, as up to 40 percent of annual sales for some segments of the industry are attributable to travelers, with international visitors spending more time and more money per visit than domestic travelers. Over the last eight years, international travel to the U.S. has been declining while visits to other countries have been increasing.

“The restaurant industry commends the Senate for passing this important legislation,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurateurs are especially grateful to the bipartisan leaders who achieved passage of this critical initiative, including Sens. Harry Reid, Richard Durbin, and John Ensign. We urge leaders in the House of Representatives to move quickly to pass the legislation so the U.S. hospitality industry will have the same strong support provided by other leading nations.”

The National Restaurant Association has long supported legislation to help attract more international visitors and establish the United States as a travel destination. Roughly half of all travelers report that they dine out when they travel, and dining out is the most popular activity planned after tourists arrive at a destination.

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