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International Tourists Focus of Dallas Conference

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By BJ Austin, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-889336.mp3

Dallas, TX – Tuesday, the "e-travel" industry comes to Dallas. TravelCom, is a three day conference on connecting "online" with travelers worldwide.

Reaching international tourists got a boost last week when President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act.

It charges a 10 dollar fee every two years to travelers from the 27 countries whose residents don't have to get VISAs to travel to the U.S.. In Dallas, Travel Association President Roger Dow says that money will be matched by private funds and used to market the U.S. as a destination.

Dow: The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not promote itself. And our competitors, whether it be Mexico, Dubai, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand - all spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we're losing very valuable international tourists.

Dow says the drop in international travel to the U.S. since 9/11 has cost the economy more than 500 BILLION dollars.

Phillip Jones, President of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau says the local economic stakes are high. He says foreign tourists spend and average three times more than domestic travelers.

Email BJ Austin