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Calendar No. 551
104th Congress Report
2d Session 104-341
UNITED STATES TOURISM ORGANIZATION ACT
R E P O R T
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
July 31, 1996.--Ordered to be printed
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
one hundred fourth congress
LARRY PRESSLER, South Dakota,
ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina TED STEVENS, Alaska
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
WENDELL H. FORD, Kentucky CONRAD BURNS, Montana
J. JAMES EXON, Nebraska SLADE GORTON, Washington
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West VirginiaTRENT LOTT, Mississippi
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
RICHARD H. BRYAN, Nevada JOHN ASHCROFT, Missouri
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota BILL FRIST, Tennessee
RON WYDEN, Oregon SPENCER ABRAHAM, Michigan
Patric G. Link, Chief of Staff
Kevin G. Curtin, Democratic Chief
Counsel and Staff Director
Calendar No. 551
104th Congress Report
2d Session 104-341
UNITED STATES TOURISM ORGANIZATION ACT
July 31, 1996.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Pressler, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 1735]
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to
which was referred the bill (S. 1735) ``A Bill to establish the
United States Tourism Organization as a nongovernmental entity
for the purpose of promoting tourism in the United States'',
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with
amendments and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
Purpose of the Bill
The bill, S. 1735, as reported, seeks to establish the United
States Tourism Organization (USTO) as a nongovernmental entity
to promote travel and tourism to and within the United States.
Background and Needs
The tourism industry is the nation's second largest employer
and ranks third in retail sales at $417 billion. In 1994,
tourism was the United States' number one export with receipts
exceeding $77 billion and a trade surplus of over $21 billion.
Tax revenues from international visits are estimated to be $7.5
billion for 1994.
Between 1990 and 1995, the United States share of the world
tourism market declined. Arrivals, as a share of the world
total, decreased from 8.61 to 7.89 percent and total receipts
declined from 16.25 to 15.70 percent of the world total. The
United States currently ranks third as a tourist destination
behind France and Spain. There is no permanent organization,
public or private, currently working specifically to increase
the United States share of the world tourism market.
In February 1996, the United States Travel and Tourism
Administration (USTTA) failed to gain further funding and
closed its doors. This agency was charged with promoting travel
and tourism to the United States, but even industry supporters
believed a public/private partnership would be more effective
at fulfilling this goal.
On October 30 and 31 of 1995, the White House held the White
House Conference on Travel and Tourism. The Conference brought
together 1700 industry representatives to explore, among other
issues, ways the industry and government could create a
``public/private'' partnership to help increase international
visits to the United States.
S. 1735 would create a privately managed entity, the United
States Tourism Organization, to fulfill the task of promoting
the United States as a tourism destination. The USTO would be
given fund raising and promotional tools in the form of
intellectual property rights and trademark protection over the
USTO's logos, name, and symbols. This aspect of S. 1735 is
similar to the intellectual property rights protection extended
to the United States Olympic Committee over the use of the
Olympic rings, torch, and Olympic name.
In addition, a National Tourism Board would be given two
years to develop and implement a long-term financing plan for
On May 8, 1996, Senator Pressler, along with Senators Bryan,
Warner, Burns, Stevens, Hollings, Inouye, Ford, Kerry, Breaux,
Dorgan, Akaka, Johnston, and Coverdell introduced S. 1735, the
National Tourism Organization Act.
Since then, a number of additional Senators have become
cosponsors of the bill, including Senators Snowe, Rockefeller,
Wyden, and Exon from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation. On June 6, 1996, in open Executive Session, the
Committee ordered S. 1735 reported with amendments.
In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate and Section 403 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, June 21, 1996.
Hon. Larry Pressler,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
reviewed S. 1735, the United States Tourism Organization Act,
as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation on June 6, 1996. Assuming the
appropriation of the necessary amounts, we estimate that
enacting this bill would result in increased discretionary
spending of between $1 million and $3 million annually
beginning in fiscal year 1999 for tourism-related initiatives.
Enacting this bill could also affect the type of activities
financed by fees collected by the Department of State, but
there would be no net impact on direct spending over time and
no effect at all until fiscal year 1999. Thus, the bill would
not be subject to pay-as-you-go procedures, which apply only
through fiscal year 1998.
Bill Purpose.--S. 1735 would establish a United States
Tourism Organization (USTO) as a not-for-profit organization
chartered by the federal government. The USTO would be
authorized to undertake a wide range of activities to promote
tourism under the guidance of a 46-member Natural Tourism
Board. This charter would be contingent upon the implementation
of a long-term financing plan for the USTO within two years
after the date of incorporation.
Although the USTO would be a nongovernmental entity, the
Under Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade
Administration would serve as an ex-officio member of the
Board. The bill also would require the Secretary of State and
the Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) to
coordinate with the USTO and to place a high priority on
implementing the organization's recommendations.
Federal Budgetary Impact.--This bill would authorize the
USIA and the Department of State to fund activities recommended
by the USTO. CBO assumes that the USTO, like the 1995 White
House Commission on Travel and Tourism, would propose that
these agencies implement a variety of measures to promote
tourism. The 1995 commission, for example, recommended that the
federal government upgrade the technologies used for visitor
entry, make electronic information and transactions for
tourists available worldwide, and take steps to ease other
barriers to international tourism. Because S. 1735 would direct
the agencies to make such initiatives a priority, we expect
that some programs that are not being funded under current law
would have a higher probability of being implemented if this
bill were enacted.
For the purposes of this estimate, we assume that the USTO
would be established during fiscal year 1997, but that any
costs resulting from USTO's recommendations to federal agencies
would not be incurred until the beginning of fiscal year 1999,
because of the time needed by the USTO to develop
recommendations and by the two agencies and the Congress to
Based on information provided by the agencies, CBO
estimates that USIA would spend between $1 million and $3
million annually in response to the recommendations of the
USTO, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. We
expect that USTO recommendations for new initiatives by the
Department of State would pertain to border security and visas,
which are financed by fees charged for machine-readable visas.
CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have no net impact
on direct spending over time, because it would not change the
amount of the collections or the expenditures of those
collections. We estimate that other provisions of the bill
would have no significant budgetary impact.
Mandates Statement.--S. 1735 contains no intergovernmental
or private-sector mandates as defined in Public Law 104-4, and
would have no direct impact on the budgets of state, local, or
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Kathleen
James L. Blum
(For June E. O'Neill, Director).
Regulatory Impact Statement
In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the
legislation, as reported.
NUMBER OF PERSONS AFFECTED
The purpose of the bill is to create a privately managed
corporation to promote international tourism to the United
States. The number of persons affected by the creation of this
organization would depend on how well it is operated and
financed through the efforts of the travel and tourism
In 1994, tourism was the United States' number one export
with receipts exceeding $77 billion, which generated a trade
surplus of over $21 billion. The United States Tourism
Organization created by this bill, would be charged with
promoting tourism to the United States. Any increase in the
number of foreign tourists visiting the United States would
have a positive impact on the nation's economy. The total
economic impact of this legislation would depend upon how
successful the promotional efforts of the USTO created by this
legislation prove to be.
This legislation would not have any adverse impact on the
personal privacy of the individuals affected.
This legislation would create a privately managed
organization, it is not a federal agency. No federal paperwork
requirements would be necessary.
Section 1. Short title
Section 1 states the short title of the bill, ``United
States Tourism Organization Act''.
Section 2. Findings
Section 2 shows the findings of Congress. This section
highlights the important contributions the travel and tourism
industry makes to the nation's economy. The most important of
these are that travel and tourism services ranked as the
largest export for the United States in 1995 and that direct
travel and tourism receipts make up 6 percent of the United
States gross national product.
Section 3. United States Tourism Organization
Section 3 creates the United States Tourism Organization.
The USTO would be a not-for-profit corporation. The USTO would
not be considered a government agency and no laws pertaining to
government agencies shall be applied to the USTO.
The USTO's primary function would be to increase the United
States share of the global tourism market by marketing the
United States as a tourism destination on an international
level. The USTO would maintain a databank of travel and tourism
information and conduct market research necessary for the
effective promotion of the United States travel and tourism
The USTO would have perpetual succession and represent the
U.S. in its relations with international tourism agencies. The
USTO would have the rights and responsibilities of a not-for-
profit corporation, including the ability to sue and be sued,
make contracts, acquire real and personal property, accept
gifts, provide financial assistance to other not-for-profit
corporations working to enhance the purposes of the USTO, and
adopt and amend its own constitution and bylaws.
The USTO would be nonpolitical in nature. It would not
promote the candidacy of any person seeking public office.
The USTO would not be permitted to issue stock or to engage
in business for profit.
Section 4. National Tourism Board
Section 4 creates the National Tourism Board (Board) which
would govern the USTO.
The National Tourism Board would be elected or appointed by
various travel and tourism-related interests based primarily on
the model developed during the White House Conference on Travel
and Tourism held October 30-31, 1995 which represents a
consensus of over 1,700 travel and tourism representatives.
The Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Administration would serve as a member ex officio.
It is the intent of the Committee that Board members
represent organizations which participate financially in the
USTO or represent certain specific tourism industry segments
which are not otherwise represented. These members should be
senior officers of a travel or tourism industry organization
and, when feasible, have international marketing, marketing
and/or fundraising responsibilities for that organization.
After the initial election of the Board, it would be self-
Terms of the Board members and the Chair would be
determined by the Board and made a part of the USTO's bylaws.
The Board would be responsible for developing a travel and
tourism strategy to increase tourism to the United States, and
for advising the President, Congress, and members of the
industry on the national travel and tourism strategy.
The Board would serve without compensation but could be
compensated for expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of
The Board would be allowed to present testimony, findings,
and recommendations to the President and Congress.
The Board would meet within thirty days after the date on
which members of the Board have been appointed. Coordination of
the USTO's first meeting should be performed by an industry
representative familiar with the creation of the USTO. The
travel and tourism industry has established a national
organization, the ``USA National Tourism Organization,
Incorporated'' (USA NTO, Inc.) to promote international tourism
on an interim basis. Because of USA NTO, Inc.'s demonstrated
interest in establishing a permanent United States Tourism
Organization, its existing national facilities and its relevant
experience, as a practical matter, the USA NTO, Inc. chairman
appears best suited to convene the first meeting of the Board.
Members of the Board would not be personally liable for any
action taken by the Board or the USTO.
Section 5. Symbols, emblems, trademarks and names
The USTO would design its own symbols, emblems, trademarks,
and names. The symbols, emblems, trademarks, and names would be
protected so that unauthorized use could be prosecuted through
the civil court system.
The USTO could authorize contributors and suppliers of
goods and services to use the trade name of the USTO as well as
any symbol, emblem, insignia or trademark in advertising that
the goods or services were approved, selected, donated,
supplied or used by the USTO.
The USTO would have the exclusive right to the use of the
name ``United States Tourism Organization'' along with any
emblem, symbol, insignia, or trademark developed by the USTO.
Section 6. United States Government cooperation
The Secretary of State would be directed to place a high
priority on implementing the recommendations of the USTO and
cooperate with the USTO in carrying out its duties.
The Director of the United States Information Agency would
be directed to place a high priority on implementing the
recommendations of the USTO and cooperate with the USTO in
carrying out its duties.
The Chairman of the USTO would be a member of the Trade
Promotion Coordinating Committee.
It is the intent of the Committee that government offices
and agencies provide the USTO ready access to travel and
tourism-related studies, data, statistics, surveys, and all
other relevant information ordinarily prepared by those offices
Section 7. Sunset
If the USTO has not implemented a plan for long-term
financing two years after incorporation, the USTO and Board
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.