US President Barack Obama has given the final go-ahead for a major programme designed to attract more overseas visitors to the US.

 The new legislation means all overseas visitors to the US will pay between $10 and $17 when they complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form before travelling. The charge is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

The charge became law when the president signed the Travel Promotions Act into law at a White House ceremomy yesterday.

It will go towards funding a public-private Corporation for Travel Promotion, which 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.

Despite this, Visit USA chairwoman Kate Burgess-Craddy said the UK trade would benefit from more investment in marketing. “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.

US Travel Association president Roger Dow said: “This programme will create tens of thousands of American jobs and help reverse negative perceptions about the US.”


Discuss it

I hope a good percentage of the money raised in the UK is used to promote leisure travel to the USA – howardrd


>Join the debate on travelhub