Visitors to the US will have to pay a fee of at least $10 following the passing of the Travel Promotion Act by the US Senate.
The act, which is expected to become law within 10 days, means travellers will have to pay to complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation form before travelling.
It is thought the charge could be as much as $17, taking into account the cost of setting up the transactional website and credit card fees.
A Corporation for Travel Promotion will be set up to push the US as a tourist destination to source markets and to provide information to prospective visitors and travel professionals overseas. This will be funded by the charge for visitors, which will be directed into a Travel Promotion Fund.
President Obama is expected to sign the measure in the next few days.
Visit USA chairwoman Kate Burgess-Craddy said: “This has been needed for a long time. The US has lost market share because other countries have upped their game and the US hasn’t been marketing itself enough. We don’t welcome the charge but as a proportion of the cost of going to the US, it is not really very much.”
She claimed the UK travel industry was likely to benefit from the act in the long term.
“We should see a good chunk of the money being spent here,” added Burgess-Craddy.
“Visit USA will be lobbying to make sure the money is spent with operators and airlines. Hopefully this will mean more bookings for the UK trade.”
The move has been welcomed by the travel industry in the US, which has been lobbying for the government to get involved in promoting the US as a tourist destination for some time.
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