Charging tourists to promote tourism?
Tuesday marked the last day for travelers coming to the U.S. from certain countries, to avoid a new travel fee.
Beginning Wednesday, travelers from 36 nations will be forced to pay $14 to register through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, necessary for those traveling with the Visa Waiver Program.
Four of the $14 will cover the operating costs of ESTA, while $10 will go toward promoting the United States as a destination for tourists. Some critics believe that charging tourists to promote tourism doesn’t make sense.
“It’s like inviting a friend over for dinner and then charging them a fee at the door,” Steve Lott, a spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association, said.
However, the U.S. Travel Association doesn’t foresee the charge having a negative effect on visitation, and Economic consulting firm, Oxford Economics predicts an increase in international visitors if the promotional program is carried out well.