A CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE held a hearing Tuesday on legislation that would reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that promotes travel to the U.S. The legislation’s supporters, including AAHOA, say the partnership helps bring billions of dollars into the economy, benefitting hotels across the country in location destination.
The new legislation would keep Brand USA operating until 2027. The House of Representative’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held the hearing chaired by Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
“Brand USA was authorized to work directly with the U.S. tourism and travel industry to maximize the social and economic benefits of travel,” Schakowsky said in her opening statements. “I am sure that all of my colleagues here would agree that their lives have been enriched by their own travels, and we all appreciate tourists coming to our district and experiencing what we each love so much about the districts we represent.
AAHOA Interim President and CEO Rachel Humphrey said in a statement that Brand USA is vital in supporting the country’s travel industry.
“In less than a decade, Brand USA helped bring over 6.6 million travelers to the U.S. and generated $47.7 billion for our economy, a $25 to $1 return on investment,” Humphrey said. “This program operates at no cost to taxpayers because it is funded by fees paid by international travelers and matched dollar for dollar by the travel industry. Without congressional reauthorization, its funding stream will revert to a general fund with no guarantee that this successful program will continue to enhance our reputation abroad and show the best that the America experience can offer.”
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.”
The U.S. Travel Association also endorses the continuation of Brand USA.
“The renewal of Brand USA is critical to driving American jobs and exports, as well as travelers throughout the country,” said USTA President and CEO Roger Dow. “This is smart policymaking in support of a proven program that will help sustain our economic expansion for years to come without cost to taxpayers.”