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US slashes tourism budget

If you fancy a trip to America don’t expect any elaborate promotions. The US Congress is set to slash the 2004 tourism budget by 80%.

The American tourism industry is in for a tough year after the US Congress slashed the Department of Commerce’s annual budget by 80%.

In 2003, the fiscal budget set aside around US $50 million to promote the US across the world. However, it seems the increase in expenditure for Iraq and the war on terrorism has pushed tourism well down the list.

With just $10 million left in the kitty and Congress considering a further $5 million cutback, officials from the tourism industry are raising their concerns.

“It’s disappointing,” Noel Irwin Hentschel, vice chairman of the US Travel and Tourism Board told the Washington Times.

“Not only will it affect our ability to market the United States, but it will also negatively affect our credibility with tour operators.”

The US tourism industry has already suffered following the events of 9/11 and the continued threat of terrorism to the United States.

The authorities had planned to launch a comprehensive promotional campaign across Western Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan, but that could now be in jeopardy.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, the US saw a drop of almost 7% in tourist arrivals in 2002 compared to 2001.

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