[Excerpt] The travel and tourism industry is an amalgam of business activities including transportation, lodging, entertainment, meals, and retail trade. Collectively, this mature sector of the U.S. economy accounts for 2.8% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employs 5.7 million Americans.
While they have increased in recent years, employment and real output in travel and tourism have not fully recovered from the 2007-2009 recession. It is in this context that Congress will consider whether to reauthorize or extend the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA; P.L. 111-145), which established a national advertising and marketing effort to encourage international visitors to spend time in the United States. The law is scheduled to expire at the end of FY2015. A number of other bills intended to make travel to the United States less complicated for foreign visitors also await action in Congress. action in Congress.