September 12, 2009 -- On September 10 the U.S. Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (S.1023) introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND). This bill could benefit tourism involving the horse industry.
"Equine tourism is a growing and diverse segment of the horse industry. Because it encompasses many parts of the industry including recreation, showing and racing its continued growth is beneficial to the entire horse industry," said American Horse Council (AHC) President Jay Hickey. "If equine tourism in the U.S. is to expand, it is important that we promote it abroad as well as at home. We believe this bill has the potential to increase the number of international visitors to the U.S. who participate in equestrian events and activities, either as participants or spectators."
The purpose of the bill is to market the U.S. as a tourist destination to people around the world. It would create a non-profit Corporation for Travel Promotion, which would be responsible for correcting misperceptions regarding U.S entry policies, and providing useful information to foreign tourists and others interested in traveling to the United States.
Notably, the bill requires the Corporation for Travel Promotion to "identify opportunities and strategies to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally." A travel promotion fund requiring non-federal matching funds would also be established.
The bill would additionally authorize the creation of an Office of Travel Promotion in the Department of Commerce. This office would support and encourage the development of programs to increase the number of international visitors to the United States. Also it would collect data on the number of international visitors to each State and support State, regional, and private sector initiatives to promote travel to and within the United States.
"Whether it's a packing trip in the west, one of the outstanding horse shows throughout the country or one of our exciting races, this bill has the potential to help let those abroad know what the U.S. horse industry has to offer," said Ben Pendergrass, AHC Legislative Director.
"The House of Representatives passed similar legislation last year so we hope they will approve this bill quickly," said Hickey.
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the AHC works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities.