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By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (November 2, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---A proposal to revive a federal tourism bureau has received the thumbs-down from the Bush administration, to Guam Delegate Robert Underwood's disappointment. Last month, Underwood introduced legislation to reopen the office.

The federal government had a tourism bureau until several years ago, when congressional action closed it, Underwood said.

But Assistant Commerce Secretary Linda Conlin told the Associated Press earlier this week that the administration has no plans to reopen the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration, which the government closed in early 1996 as part of the effort to eliminate unnecessary agencies.

Underwood's bill calls for the federal tourism agency to receive $60 million for advertising and other expenses related to a ''Rediscover America'' campaign that could help promote Guam.

The wire report quoted Conlin as saying that, rather than boosting spending on advertising to attract foreign travelers, the administration believes it is more important to support efforts in Congress to upgrade airport security.

Underwood said in a written statement, ''I am very disappointed that someone in (the) U.S. Department of Commerce doesn't recognize the value of international visitors in the travel industry.

''We need to do some educating. More than 20 percent of the tourist dollars in the entire U.S. comes from foreign sources and almost 100 percent in Guam,'' Underwood said.

''We need to advertise overseas and we need to get the federal government behind that effort.''

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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