Agencies line up as US announces $50m tourism pitch

LONDON - The US government is holding a pitch for a $50m international campaign to encourage foreign tourists back to the country.

At least one UK shop and several US-based agencies have been shortlisted for the pitch which is being run out of Washington by the Department of Commerce. A decision is expected within the next couple of months with the campaign due to air in the UK and other selected countries before the end of the year.

The US is keen to attract holidaymakers from key places, including the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan and Mexico, who have been deterred by incidents such as September 11 and the persistent threat of terror attacks.

Despite a recent upsurge in interest in US travel as reported by the US tourism body Visit USA, the industry is concerned that recently proposed changes to security regulations will deter many visitors.

The plans include forcing travellers wishing to enter the country to purchase a visa for $100.

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