C’mon, Bill Marriott!

There’s nothing that annoys me more than a “visa” fee when it’s really not necessary. Heck, what ticks me off even more are “tourist fees.” Isn’t deciding to visit a country and drop money in that country’s economy enough of a “fee?” Well of course the US Congress has a brilliant idea, in the form of charging a $10 travel fee for visitors to the US from visa waiver countries. Why? To finance a new program to promote travel to the US!

This is beyond ridiculous in my mind. The US is already seen as unwelcoming to most of the rest of the world, and charging people to visit our country certainly won’t help that perception. I couldn’t agree more with this statement:

“Only in `Alice in Wonderland’ could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed,” the European Commission’s Ambassador to Washington, John Bruton, said in a statement Friday.

I expect the loonies in Washington to come up with this stuff, but who else supports it? Bill Marriott. Check out his thoughts on this proposal. There are so many gems in here, like this one:

We’re really enthusiastic because this legislation would create a public-private partnership to promote the U.S. as a travel destination and educate international travelers on our policies here in the United States for security.

I just don’t get the feeling that charging foreigners $10 so we can teach them about our safety policies will make them want to visit.

Interestingly enough he also mentions this:

Overseas visitors spend about $4,500 per person, per trip in our country — think of all the tax revenue for state, local, and federal governments to pay for public services. What a terrific economic stimulus this will be!

Exactly, and that’s why we shouldn’t charge people to visit our country! That, along with training our immigration officers to not be rude jackasses to visitors, let alone treat them like criminals.

I just don’t get it….

Filed Under: Media, Travel
  1. What is also forgotten is that that the USA charges people from countries requiring visas $131 for an application (not the visa) and that alone stops thousands from coming to this country every year. A fee from visa-waver countries will discourage that many more people from coming.

  2. These things are usually invisible to the traveler unless they go looking. I’m sure I’m in the minority when I scrutinize the various fees I have to pay when entering the UK, for instance. And even though I know about them it doesn’t stop me from visiting, nor does it really produce any negative will toward the UK on my behalf.

    The think the percentage of travelers who will 1) know about this fee, 2) care about this fee and 3) get a negative impression of the U.S. is very small. And it is probably outweighed by the increased revenue the U.S. will receive because of it.

  3. I think Bill Marriott is an idiot. One reason I won’t visit China a second time is because I was there once on a $130 visa and saw what I wanted to see in Beijing and Shanghai and will not be paying another $130 any time soon to visit again. However, if the visa fees were waived I would go back to Shanghai in a second. Visa fees are reciprocated by countries and all they do is result in another reason not to visit a country, which impacts tourism and is another indirect tax on the average taxpayer with me being charged $130 to visit a country because my country charges visitors from that country $130 to visit the USA.

    I’m not really surprised by this “brilliant idea” with the idiots and liars we have in Washington. Another piece of stupidity brought to you by Democrats.

  4. What is this, OMNI/PR bschaff? I don’t think we need to ruin lucky’s blog with the political discourse. 😉

    On topic, I think there is a difference to be made between Visa fees and these hidden charges. No?

  5. Don’t forget the cost of making the appointment to get the visa. On a 900-number. Yes, State apparently gets their management tips from Adult Video News.

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