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US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism  
User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5712 posts, RR: 18
Posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5213 times:

The US Senate has approved legislation that would charge a 10-dollar fee to visitors who do not require a visa to enter the country, drawing the ire of European Union officials. The move, approved 79-19 on Wednesday, still has to be approved by the House of Representatives. It primarily affects European countries and was described by EU officials as a setback for transatlantic travel.

Approved as part of the Travel Promotion Act, US politicians said the fee would be used to set up a non-profit organization to better explain entry policies and promote travel to the United States.


http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/s...-10-dollar-charge-on-tourists.html

The US is certainly entitled to regulate tourist immigration as they see fit, what I find ironic is that a boost for tourism is supposed to be achieved by creating yet another administrative obstacle (as if online registration, biometric passports were not enough). To quote ambassador of the "socialist" EU to the US, Mr. Bruton: "Only in Alice in Wonderland could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed."
On the other hand it seems that there is a widespread support for this measure even among the travel industry representatives.

After a multi-year battle, the Senate yesterday took a major step toward strengthening the American economy and welcoming millions of new visitors to the United States. By a vote of 80 to 19, the Senate invoked cloture on the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) and set the stage for a vote on final passage of the much-needed legislation on today, September 9.

"Senators from both sides of the aisle today embraced a common sense, taxpayer-free way of stimulating the American economy, creating jobs and strengthening local communities from coast to coast," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We encourage prompt passage of this legislation and rapid consideration in the House of Representatives."


http://www.travelagentcentral.com/go...tion-act-vote-expected-today-17259

42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1156 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5200 times:

I wonder how long it takes before the EU requires the same of US citizens. EU economies could certainly use the extra revenue.

Dumb move in my opinon.



A330 man.
User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5196 times:



Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 1):
Dumb move in my opinon.

Yes, but hardly surprising. This Congress is looking under every rock attempting to find more revenue.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17510 posts, RR: 45
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5149 times:



Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 1):
Dumb move in my opinon.

They want to improve tourism by charging a fee, levying exorbitant visas with unbelievable red tape on foreigners, adding a sin tax on visitors for any carbon they may produce on their way to/from the US, and reminding everyone we hate 'furrin'ers' because they're stealing our jobs and buying our debt. Makes sense to me Yeah sure



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5149 times:

Oh, this is absurd - not for the amount, $10 is not going to make someone go "$10 more? Forget it, I'll go to Canada instead..." Americans already pay high taxes on tickets to Europe (I'm particularly looking at YOU, Gordon Brown), so on that note I really think the EU should perhaps tone down the outrage.

The problem, to me, lies more in the mechanics of collecting it through the ESTA system - we're going to create yet another database filled with credit card information for the government to misplace or insufficiently protect, and add hassle for visitors who are already (understandably) annoyed about the whole ESTA system. If the US wants to impose a $10 tax on arriving tourists from ESTA countries (or anyone else), just have the airlines collect it the way they do all the other taxes (US and otherwise) now. Don't create a new hassle where it's not needed.

And while we're at it, why can't the ESTA system offer visitors a way to print out a "I-94W" substitute? At least give them a reward for the hassle.

Or better yet, scrap ESTA entirely?


User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5608 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5136 times:

I don't see what is so strange or unusual about this idea or fee. Something similar to this is already done in most places in the US via something called "Transit Occupancy Tax" (or whatever) and other similar taxes. Many tourist destinations charge an extra tax on rental cars and hotels to build revenues to advertise the city, states, or wherever is being visited. Vegas does it, Miami does it, as do many others cities in the USA I don't know but I would be surprised if other countries don't do it. Airports already do it as a charge added into the various fees that they charge.

So what's the big deal?

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10898 posts, RR: 37
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5131 times:

If the US lawmakers pass this I certainly hope the EU lawmakers will make it reciprocal and pass the same law asking the equivalent amount of US visitors to the EU.


There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineOffloaded From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2009, 886 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5113 times:



Quoting L410Turbolet (Thread starter):
Mr. Bruton: "Only in Alice in Wonderland could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed."

And only perhaps in the EU is a bureaucrat such as Mr. Bruton so woefully oblivious to the level of taxation imposed on travel by many of the Member States he is supposed to represent.

However, as has already been said, a $10 fee isn't going to cause anyone to cancel their trip to the US, but at "only" $10, it will probably cost more to administer than raise in revenue.

As it is, the current ESTA is only "APIS plus" (i.e the APIS info you had to put in anyway before travel, plus the questions about being a Nazi/terrorist/war criminal etc) If you ever noticed, the info such as first nights accomodation address/flight number is voluntary and not a required field. And, you still have to fill out the form on the plane. Just another database to be on, IMHO.



To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5608 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5093 times:



Quoting Offloaded (Reply 7):
However, as has already been said, a $10 fee isn't going to cause anyone to cancel their trip to the US, but at "only" $10, it will probably cost more to administer than raise in revenue.

Well based on recent figures, it should raise about $80,000,000.00 per year. Last year there were approx 8 million visitors to the USA from Europe and this year there have been 5 million so it is on track to be similar.
http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2009-I-001/table1.html
http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpag...data_table/2008_Top_10_Markets.pdf

Again this is a tax on the people who use the service, i.e. visitors to the USA pay the tax to promote visiting the USA. This is not what many here call an "income redistribution tax" so I don't know why anyone is concerned. The pharmaceutical companies charge some amount extra to covers their expenses to advertise their products, airlines have to covers their advertising expenses, supermarkets have to have sufficient markup on the products they sell. For something like a nation, state, or city, a tax, add on charge, is the only way to do that.

Tugg

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 6):
If the US lawmakers pass this I certainly hope the EU lawmakers will make it reciprocal and pass the same law asking the equivalent amount of US visitors to the EU.




I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17510 posts, RR: 45
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5090 times:



Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 6):
I certainly hope the EU lawmakers will make it reciprocal and pass the same law asking the equivalent amount of US visitors to the EU.

They have been punishing visitors for a while now with taxes and fees.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25404 posts, RR: 49
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5086 times:

Listen the $10 will most likely be incorporated in the ticketing fees, one of many such fees. $10 is not going to make or break a trip for any.

If the EU or others want to add a charge they are free to do so. Consumers fund all types of charges for travel globaly.

This should be a non-issue really.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineSignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3005 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5055 times:



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 9):
They have been punishing visitors for a while now with taxes and fees.

Could I just ask, what taxes and fees are these that are only paid by visitors and not locals?

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17510 posts, RR: 45
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5040 times:



Quoting Signol (Reply 11):
Could I just ask, what taxes and fees are these that are only paid by visitors and not locals?

None that I know of, but for instance, Brits don't have a choice to live somewhere else in the same way that foreigners can choose to visit a different country if the taxes/fees/visas are too expensive.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5608 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5040 times:



Quoting Signol (Reply 11):
Could I just ask, what taxes and fees are these that are only paid by visitors and not locals?

This report gives a good insight on what a visitor pays. Though many are taxes that anyone may pay one simple one that jumped out at me was the Schengen visa fee (as of 1 January 2007), 60€.
http://www.ectaa.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=5M1X4e1TwAo%3D&tabid=79

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5038 times:

Advantages of the VWP program are being eroded rapidly. Now it turns out that the cost of a biometric passport, plus ESTA registration and Fees per visit bring it closer to the costs and inconvience of the good old B1/B2 Visa (minus the red tape).

User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5029 times:



Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 6):
If the US lawmakers pass this I certainly hope the EU lawmakers will make it reciprocal and pass the same law asking the equivalent amount of US visitors to the EU.

The total taxes that Americans pay on airfare to the EU (especially if you fly into the UK) already exceed what Europeans pay on airline tickets to the US government when they come here, so I don't think retaliation is appropriate.

On the other hand, if this goes through as proposed and it's specifically tied to the ESTA, and requires a separate payment, I can see where it'd stick in the EU's collective throat, especially since the ESTA itself is unilateral and on top of the I-94W, which most European countries either don't have a counterpart to, or have a very small and simple form.

On the other-other hand I don't hear Europeans going on that much about Australia's ETA (which ESTA is modeled after), so there may be a bit of anti-Americanism floating around in the argument. Or it could just be that the US is a bigger travel destination, so it hits the radar screen.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 10):
Listen the $10 will most likely be incorporated in the ticketing fees, one of many such fees.

I hope that's true - that would eliminate a lot of the issues over the fee. But as it sits right now, the legislation (here's a good summary, in PDF form, it's from the Republican Senate policy committee but is neutral) mandates that the fee would be collected through the ESTA system, which creates issues besides the ten bucks itself:

* more hassle for the ESTA user
* the question of refunds if the ESTA is denied
* creation of yet another database with credit card information that our government can fail to protect properly
* the new fee would only apply to ESTA travelers, why are they getting singled out?

I admit to ambivalence on the question of the tax itself - Americans visiting Europe already pay a lot more air travel taxes to EU countries than Europeans visiting the US pay to our government. But tying the tax (call it a "fee", but if it's imposed by government it's a "tax" to me) to the ESTA just makes it really repellent, especially when Visa Waiver country residents already have good argument against the ESTA and the tax has nothing at all to do with the ESTA program.

And more to the point, why do we need a "Corporation for Travel Promotion" anyway? We already have plenty of entities promoting travel to the US. And why this mish-mash of government and private interests? If the travel industry wants to create a new promotion agency for travel to the US, they can set up a non-profit corporation and do it now, without government involvement and without sticking their hand in the pockets of people who have already decided to come here.


User currently offlineSInGAPORE_AIR From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5013 times:

I'd pay US$10.00 to not have to stand in an immigration queue for 90 minutes and for the guy at Customs/Border Patrol to not mumble at me.


Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17510 posts, RR: 45
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4999 times:



Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 15):
We already have plenty of entities promoting travel to the US

...like the value of the dollar Silly

Quoting SInGAPORE_AIR (Reply 16):
I'd pay US$10.00 to not have to stand in an immigration queue for 90 minutes and for the guy at Customs/Border Patrol to not mumble at me.

I'm sorry, but that's a rational idea that would make sense. The government is not into that. Better to double the number of immigration officers and desks and then only fill 50% of them at any given time Yeah sure



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4682 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4967 times:



Quoting Tugger (Reply 8):
Well based on recent figures, it should raise about $80,000,000.00 per year. Last year there were approx 8 million visitors to the USA from Europe and this year there have been 5 million so it is on track to be similar.

I thought an ESTA approval is valid for two years and an unlimited number of visits? Or am I wrong?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineSANAV8R From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4948 times:

Is it the same concept as the $15 fee that US, Canada, and Japanese visitors must pay when registering to visit Australia? Or a tax added on tickets?

All this work for Visa Waiver Countries seems like a lot of hassle from what I've seen. Forms and this and that. The point is to avoid the process of visas and yet there is all this paperwork and registration.

Even the machines that take photos and such look and stamping process is so complicated. The U.S. should have the same machine and process as Japan, you go up hand the card, answer question, take photo/fingerprint, and a sticker is put in the passport, and departure card is stapled. They've got it down.


User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6452 posts, RR: 54
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4913 times:

It is quite funny how history repeats itself.

In older days, if we had to visit Eastern Europe, then there were all sort of special fees for the visitors only.

Then The Wall fell, Eastern Europe became EU members, and we all move freely around paying the same VAT as the locals, intra Schengen even without a passport.

Now the US takes over the old role of the former Eastern Europe.

Quoting SInGAPORE_AIR (Reply 16):
I'd pay US$10.00 to not have to stand in an immigration queue for 90 minutes and for the guy at Customs/Border Patrol to not mumble at me.

Of course. Ten bucks is nothing these days. But believe me, this is only a start. When the agancies, which are supposed to make a living out of this fee, discover that they could use more staff, then it will overnight change to $25, then a hundred, then two-fifty, and...

This new tax seems to be a Canadian/Australian idea, which now spreads to the US. It's not hard to imagine that it spreads further to the EU. But then it might create difficulties at least within the Schengen area since three countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) are full Scengen members, but not EU members. So at least it could take a long time to agree upon imposing this tax on Americans etc.

And BTW, it's nothing new. If for instance we want to visit the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia (and many other such places in Russia), then we pay double entry fee since we are not Russian citizens.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21467 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4814 times:

Nothing says "welcome" quite as convincingly as slapping a fine on every visitor.

Well done!  Yeah sure


User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5712 posts, RR: 18
Reply 22, posted (5 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 4663 times:



Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 15):
there may be a bit of anti-Americanism floating around in the argument

 Yeah sure No need to get paranoid.
When Thailand wanted to attract tourists they (temporarily) lifted the fee collected for tourist visa issued upon arrival. Your government chose to pursue the exactly opposite approach by creating yet another bureaucratic hurdle (in addition to those existing ones).
If you think it will achieve the desired effect, then more power to you.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 5):
So what's the big deal?

No big deal, basically what caught my attention was the fact that this (imho) couterproductive approach is so widely supported by the travel industry. If they just wanted to generate additional revenue to fund advertising campaigns why not just increase the fee a dollar here and dollar there from the taxes and fees already charged - few would notice and/or care - instead of adopting a whole sepearate legislation for it and choosing path guaranteed to get negative press/attention, i.e. by attaching the fee to the already unpopular ESTA?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 21):
Nothing says "welcome" quite as convincingly as slapping a fine on every visitor.

Catch 22?


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3590 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (5 years 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 4649 times:

If the ESTA sysytem appeared to acheive something, the small fee proposed wouldn't grate so much.
When I 1st heard about it, I assumed it would replace the I 94 W. But no. we have to register with ESTA, the airline has to send the advance passenger information, and we still have to write out green cards on the plane.
Perhaps if they rationalised the system, they could save $10 per passenger, and not need to make the charge.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25404 posts, RR: 49
Reply 24, posted (5 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4603 times:



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 22):
basically what caught my attention was the fact that this (imho) couterproductive approach is so widely supported by the travel industry. If they just wanted to generate additional revenue to fund advertising campaigns why not just increase the fee a dollar here and dollar there from the taxes and fees already charged - few would notice and/or care - instead of adopting a whole sepearate legislation for it and choosing path guaranteed to get negative press/attention, i.e. by attaching the fee to the already unpopular ESTA?

The fee is quite popular as its a great means to fund US tourism initiatives, by having tourist pay for it themselves, not the US tax payer, or other industry constituents.

As for masking this initiative under other fees, those other fees are for quite specific uses and are already spoken for and cannot be diverted without changing funding mechanisms for host of parties. These fee uses range from the individual airport passenger facility charges, Federal security segment tax, immigration user fee, departure tax, animal and plant inspection fee, etc.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
25 Bongodog1964 : The only way this will create jobs, is in the advertising agencies who are given the money to waste.
26 PanHAM : ssshhhh - don't give them any funny ideas, East Germany charged more per day and that place was not even a fraction as attractive. Ten bucks ain't nu
27 ExFATboy : I haven't the slightest idea where you got the idea that I support this idea - I thought I was pretty clear that I oppose it, on the grounds that (a)
28 LAXintl : Thank you and we appreciate your visits. Likewise its an excellent funding stream to have tourist dollars help directly fund US global tourism initia
29 Geekydude : That's right! You'd better milk it from people who are not in a position to do much about it.
30 PanHAM : We can go to Canada Australia South Africa, South America or anywhere in the Far East or just tour Europe instead of getting "milked" by Uncle Sam. T
31 Post contains links LTU932 : AFAIK, when registering for an entry to Australia, all we do is just request the visa electronically and they'd usually grant it without too many com
32 Falstaff : Not just globally, but localy too. There are a lot of taxes for rental cars and hotels near airports. If you use those services away from the airport
33 PanHAM : The Australian system is gtreat. I once "lost" (actually misplaced), my passport on the way to Australia during a stop-over in KUL. The embassy issue
34 Czbbflier : I'm a little lost. I don't even know what "esta" is. (OK- I JUST Googled it and learned of this technological wonder) But ESTA or not, how is this $1
35 SR117 : Because those of us who had to get a US Visa already had to fork out 130usd (nonrefundable btw) when we applied for it. ESTA travelers are except fro
36 Us330 : Our bureaucracy at work! Now that's job creation! It's gonna be like bag fees. This move is stupid. If they just called it a "foreign travellers" tax
37 Offloaded : You are correct. So which is it, $10 per ESTA application, or $10 per visit?
38 ExFATboy : Ah, but as a general rule (there are a few exceptions), visa waiver is reciprocal - if you had to pay to get a visa to visit the US, Americans visiti
39 Post contains images Klaus : Not my quote! No, it may influence people's decisions long before that, in the "where would we like to go?" phase, when the subjective things like fe
40 Elite : Will it? Like ExFATboy said, it is only $10. Will that really make someone feel unwelcome or treated with hostility? Not for me. I've been to many co
41 Klaus : I don't say it will make the decisive difference for everybody, but the net effect for US tourism may still be negative. Small things can add up.
42 LTU932 : The point is that, knowing of how strict immigration policy is in the US and knowing (although ESTA is for VWP citizens only) how difficult it is for
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