Irish will be hit with $10 tourist fee to U.S. on visa waiver program

Want to come to the U.S. from Ireland soon? That'll be an extra $10 please.

A new bill on its way to President Obama's desk will create a national tourism agency partially funded by the $10 fee which will only be levied on visitors from countries in the visa waiver program.

Which includes Ireland.

The new agency will charge visa waiver visitors the $10 once every two years once they register online with Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

Opponents of the legislation say that the new fee is only going to deter visitors from coming, not encourage them.

They cite the fee as being one more headache to add to the tight security and immigration procedures.

On the other hand, seeing as I'm feeling even-handed, I'm struck by how little America actually spends on marketing itself.

Little old Greece spent $100 million on tourism marketing in 2005 (which CNN says is the most recent year figures are available) while the U.S. spent just $6m on a national effort.


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