REAUTHORIZATION OF BRAND USA, a public-private partnership that promotes travel to the U.S., has moved out of committee and will now be considered for passage by the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the Brand USA Extension Act of 2019 would extend funding for the program through 2027 and increase the fees paid by international travelers for pre-authorization programs that fund the partnership.
The act passed out of the committee Nov. 20 along with a bill reauthorizing the U.S. SAFE WEB Act.
“Today, the Full Committee passed two bipartisan bills that ensure the U.S. global marketplace remains a top destination for international travelers, and strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to go after international fraudsters and scammers that target Americans,” said Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-New Jersey.
U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) sponsored the reauthorization bill.
Brand USA has had a nearly $48 billion economic impact and supports more than 50,000 jobs a year, according to Blunt’s office. In 2018 alone it generated $4.1 billion in incremental visitor spending, resulting in a marketing return on investment of 32:1.
“America’s tourism industry supports thousands of jobs and contributes billions to our economy,” said Blunt previously. “Brand USA has a proven track record of bringing travelers to attractions, restaurants, and hotels in communities across our nation. This bipartisan bill will ensure we remain competitive in the international tourism industry and bring even more visitors to our shores.”
Several associations, including AAHOA and The U.S. Travel Association, have been supporting Brand USA’s reauthorization.
“International tourism is a key economic contributor to communities, both big and small, throughout the nation,” AAHOA’s newly-selected President and CEO Cecil Staton said in a statement. “With yesterday’s vote, we are one step closer to ensuring that Brand USA continues to promote America’s great destinations abroad. America’s hoteliers thank Reps. Pallone, Walden, Schakowsky, McMorris Rodgers, Welch, and Bilirakis for their leadership in carrying this bill through markup to passage. We urge leaders in both the House and the Senate to send this reauthorization to President Trump’s desk before year’s end to guarantee that this vital public-private partnership endures well into the future.”
The passage to the House floor is a sign that the bill has bipartisan support, USTA President and CEO Roger Dow said.
“There is broad recognition of [Brand USA’s] enormous positive contributions to all segments of the U.S. travel industry and to the American economy and job creation as a whole,” he said. “We urge leadership in both chambers to include this program’s reauthorization in must-pass legislation at the end of the year.”