The US tourism industry could receive a boost of up to $200 million if the long-awaited Travel Promotion Act is passed by the Senate as expected.

The act was reintroduced to Congress last week after being passed by the House of Representatives last year. US Travel Association president Roger Dow said a decision was imminent, but it could take up to a year for the act to come into effect.

Dow stressed investment in tourism promotion was long overdue, but could not say exactly how the potential funds would be spent. Fam trips and trade shows were likely sources, plus traditional media and online advertising.

“It will be a public/private partnership incorporating major hotel chains, airlines, theme parks and attractions, so the eventual board will have to decide how the money is spent.”

Public funding would be raised by a $10 fee for the ESTA online visa waiver system, which will be matched by the private sector partners.

The US Travel Association is the new name for the Travel Industry Association of America.