L410Turbolet
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US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:46 pm

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
 
cgnnrw
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:56 pm

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.
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Dreadnought
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:00 pm



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.
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MaverickM11
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:04 pm



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
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exFATboy
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:06 pm

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?
 
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Tugger
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:34 pm

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
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MadameConcorde
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:41 pm

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.
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offloaded
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:06 pm



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.
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Tugger
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:40 pm



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
 
MaverickM11
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:43 pm



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
 
LAXintl
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:47 pm

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.
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signol
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:21 pm



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
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MaverickM11
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:38 pm



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.
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Tugger
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:38 pm



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
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AM744
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:41 pm

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).
 
exFATboy
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:03 pm



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.
 
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:22 pm

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.
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MaverickM11
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:54 pm



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
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A342
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:07 pm



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.
 
SANAV8R
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:54 pm

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.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:36 am

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.
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Klaus
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:06 pm

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

Well done!  Yeah sure
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:39 pm



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?
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:24 pm

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.
 
LAXintl
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:51 pm



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.
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Bongodog1964
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:47 am



Quoting L410Turbolet (Thread starter):
"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."

The only way this will create jobs, is in the advertising agencies who are given the money to waste.
 
PanHAM
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:38 am



Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 20):
In older days, if we had to visit Eastern Europe, then there were all sort of special fees for the visitors only.

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 nuthin', less than seven Euros.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 24):
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.

I suggest you take some basic lessons in economics. Tourists don't cost the US taxpayer a cent, they bring money into the country. Every time I sleep in a hotel, I pay local and state taxes. Every time I buy something in a shop, I pay sales tax, I pay tax on car rentals and I pay highway tolls. I pay for the use of the airport and public transit when in a big city.

My Dollars contribute to employement who again pay taxes. I contribute to the turnover of all the companies I have bestowed with my business and contributed a small share for them to be able to stay in business and employ people. On top of that, I pay for myself, as all the expenses of my travel come out of my pockets and not the pockets of American taxpayers. Even better, all the tourists entering your country share the same infrastructure the US citizens use and reduce the per capita costs for maintenance and building.

If Uncle Sam wants ten bucks on top of that, be it so. You have supported us in bad times after WW2 and we gladly pay back.
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exFATboy
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:05 pm



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 22):
If you think it will achieve the desired effect, then more power to you.

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) we don't need another agency promoting tourism and (b) tying it to the ESTA just irritates the very the people we want to come to the US.
 
LAXintl
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:55 pm



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 26):

Thank you and we appreciate your visits.

Likewise its an excellent funding stream to have tourist dollars help directly fund US global tourism initiatives.
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geekydude
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:44 pm



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
Likewise its an excellent funding stream to have tourist dollars help directly fund US global tourism initiatives.

That's right! You'd better milk it from people who are not in a position to do much about it.
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PanHAM
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:54 pm



Quoting Geekydude (Reply 29):
That's right! You'd better milk it from people who are not in a position to do much about it.

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.

There's lots that can be done about ir, including milking US tourists.
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:24 pm



Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 15):
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.

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 complications. Hell, no visa on the passport is required because it's then tied to the passport number. To me, the main point is that Australia's ETA appears to most as much more straightforward than ESTA, even though it's only limited to certain citizens, including Americans. For us Europeans, we have the eVisitor, which appears to be for free and is basically the same as ETA.

http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/visa-options.htm

Anyway, I'd gladly pay those 10 dollars, fill out the I-94W form and pre-register 72 hours prior to the flight (even though I prefer to reduce all the bureaucracy involved), as long as immigration officers in the US drop whatever hostility they may have towards foreigners, and from what I've heard over the years in this forum, they do tend to be hostile some times. This has been one of the reasons why I prefer to avoid the US when I return to Germany, and why I'm not going to the US in the near future. My concern is that I get some immigration officer who treats me like a criminal and purposely tries to provoke me to have an excuse to deny me entry, when all I want to do is just visit the United States, and I do want to visit the US some day.
 
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falstaff
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:28 pm



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 10):
Consumers fund all types of charges for travel globaly.

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 there are less taxes.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 2):
This Congress is looking under every rock attempting to find more revenue.

If they would actually start manufacturing large amounts of products back in the USA we would have plenty of money and we wouldn't need to tax everything so much. Wealth comes from production of goods.
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PanHAM
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:51 am



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 31):
Hell, no visa on the passport is required because it's then tied to the passport number. To me, the main point is that Australia's ETA appears to most as much more straightforward than

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 issued an ersatz passport and I had no problems in BNE entering the country.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 32):
Wealth comes from production of goods.

...and services.....

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 31):
My concern is that I get some immigration officer who treats me like a criminal and purposely tries to provoke me to have an excuse to deny me entry, when all I want to do is just

I have to be fair, I can't complain about that since most of the times it took less than a minute for me to pass the immigration. The usual "what type of business is that" - short answer and bingo, once you're in the country and know your way around, it's a lot of fun and easy going.
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czbbflier
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Touris

Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:07 am



Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 20):
This new tax seems to be a Canadian/Australian idea

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 $10.00 fee/tax originally Canadian?

Does Canada charge or has Canada historically charged an entry fee for every tourist from overseas?

If the answer is "yes", I'll be very surprised and disappointed- both in the short sightedness of the idea and of my own ignorance.
 
sr117
Posts: 681
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2000 2:00 am

RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Touris

Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:40 am



Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 15):
* the new fee would only apply to ESTA travelers, why are they getting singled out?

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 from the visa hassle but in turn shall have to fork out the 10 bucks per visit.

While it does indeed sound lame, I don't think this is much worse than the extortionate amounts of money already being charged as departure taxes in places like London and Paris.
 
us330
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 7:00 am

RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:40 pm



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

Our bureaucracy at work!

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 17):
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

Now that's job creation!

Quoting Klaus (Reply 21):
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...

It's gonna be like bag fees. This move is stupid. If they just called it a "foreign travellers" tax or something like that, I would still be opposed to it (since the last thing the U.S. needs is more rules and regulations to discourage foreign travellers from passing through our borders), but I could at least understand it.

Now, you are having people pay 10 dollars to fund programs designed to lure more people to the U.S. to pay 10 dollars to fund programs.....

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 25):
The only way this will create jobs, is in the advertising agencies who are given the money to waste.

Let's also add additional bureaucrats to oversee the program. Exactly what the U.S. needs: more red tape!
 
offloaded
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:52 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 18):
I thought an ESTA approval is valid for two years and an unlimited number of visits? Or am I wrong?

You are correct.

So which is it, $10 per ESTA application, or $10 per visit?
To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
 
exFATboy
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:13 pm



Quoting SR117 (Reply 35):
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 from the visa hassle but in turn shall have to fork out the 10 bucks per visit.

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 visiting your country would have to pay to get a visa as well. Also, at least part, if not all, of the charge for a visa is to offset the costs of processing the visa.

The ESTA charge is different, in that:

(1) The charge would be paid by citizens of countries that, with a few exceptions, Americans can visit without paying a similar charge. (Australia is an exception, right now we're charged AUD 20 for ETA, while an Australian coming to the US through ESTA pays nothing. There may be other exceptions I'm not aware of.)

Most visa-waiver countries are already annoyed by ESTA, since they require nothing similar of Americans visiting their countries, the ESTA doesn't even reduce the hassle of the I-94W, and American CBP agents don't exactly have a reputation for being welcoming, although I do think this is sometimes a little overstated, and I've had some less-than-welcoming experiences entering the UK too.

(2) More importantly, the charge has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual ESTA process - it's a tax to be handed over to a new - and in the opinion of many Americans (including me) unnecessary - non-profit tourism-promoting agency, which I'd imagine to a potential visitor to the US is layering insult on top of insult.

Of course, we have to take into account we're only talking a whopping ten bucks here - I have trouble picturing someone in Bristol, Barcelona, or Brisbane going "well, I've got the trip to the US all planned out...what the hell? A ten dollar tax? Forget it, gonna go somewhere else instead..."
 
Klaus
Posts: 20579
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:27 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 36):
Quoting Klaus (Reply 21):
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...

Not my quote!

Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 38):
Of course, we have to take into account we're only talking a whopping ten bucks here - I have trouble picturing someone in Bristol, Barcelona, or Brisbane going "well, I've got the trip to the US all planned out...what the hell? A ten dollar tax? Forget it, gonna go somewhere else instead..."

No, it may influence people's decisions long before that, in the "where would we like to go?" phase, when the subjective things like feeling welcome or feeling treated with hostility or contempt can make the difference.
 
Elite
Posts: 2296
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:41 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 39):
No, it may influence people's decisions long before that, in the "where would we like to go?" phase, when the subjective things like feeling welcome or feeling treated with hostility or contempt can make the difference.

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 countries, and a $10 tax would be the last of my worries. The bigger issues with hospitality that can make a difference are usually related to service I receive in that country and the attitude of the people there towards me, or tourists in general. And believe me, there are countries I will never visit again because of such experiences, but none because of a tax on landing.

That being said, I am confused by the $10 fee to boost tourism, although I guess the amount is small enough that it can be crossed off as negligible.
 
Klaus
Posts: 20579
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:04 pm



Quoting Elite (Reply 40):
Will it? Like ExFATboy said, it is only $10. Will that really make someone feel unwelcome or treated with hostility? Not for me.

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.
 
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LTU932
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RE: US Esta To Introduce $10 Fee To "boost" Tourism

Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:55 pm



Quoting Elite (Reply 40):
Will it? Like ExFATboy said, it is only $10. Will that really make someone feel unwelcome or treated with hostility?

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 to even get an extended non-immigrant visa, that this will make people feel even more unwelcome in the US.

Down here in Costa Rica, where Visa Waiver for Costa Ricans does not exist for travelling to the US, people have to pay 100 Dollars for a visa, wait 3 months for the interview, and they get no guarantee that they will get the visa. Sometimes, when I pass by the embassy, the line is pretty long at times, and what annoys people is all the paperwork that is required to even get to the interview stage.

With that general perception, people tend to feel unwelcome in the US, because they tend to think that the US is trying to reject them from entry whenever possible. Even for VWP-Passengers, it is a lot sometimes to put up with the required bureaucracy (e.g. pre-registering via ESTA, filling out the I-94W, etc), and if even one unimportant thing is wrong (e.g. a typo on the I-94W), they may reject you or at the very least, they get angry.

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