The U.S. travel community today thanked and congratulated Congress for passing a spending bill that renews Brand USA, America's public-private travel promotion partnership.

The U.S. travel community today thanked and congratulated Congress for passing a spending bill that renews Brand USA, America's public-private travel promotion partnership.

"It's not every day that Congress makes a policy move that makes abundant sense and has demonstrable value for every region and demographic of this country. Renewing Brand USA is one such thing," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The overwhelming majority that passed reauthorization in the House, coupled with the unanimous vote that passed it out of the Senate Commerce Committee, are a ringing bipartisan endorsement of Brand USA's mission and effectiveness. The tens of thousands of jobs it creates, the zero cost to federal taxpayers, the fact that it helps our trade balance by bringing huge amounts of foreign currency to the U.S., the contribution it makes to reducing the deficit by millions—Brand USA is simply a policy that works."

In only its third year of existence, Brand USA's economic impact through attracting international visitors is already enormous. In 2013, the program drew more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States, generating $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending and $1 billion in federal, local and state tax revenues. Returning $47 on every $1 spent on promotion, the program supported nearly 53,000 new U.S. jobs.

A recent study by Oxford Economics further confirmed Brand USA's economic impact by revealing the consequences of a future without the program. Over the ensuing five-year period, 2016-2020, America would have lost nearly $54 billion in total business sales, $27.6 billion in value-added (GDP) and $53.8 billion in personal income. Rather than supporting new jobs, the U.S. economy would have instead created 53,000 fewer jobs.

Said Dow: "The travel community gives great thanks to Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Peter Welch, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt along with Senate Major Leader Harry Reid for leading the effort to reauthorize Brand USA. Further, committee leaders in the Senate and the House, including Reps. Fred Upton, Henry Waxman, Lee Terry, Jan Schakowsky, Hal Rogers, Nita Lowey, Sam Farr and Sens. John Thune, John Rockefeller, Brian Schatz, Tim Scott, Barbara Mikulski and Richard Shelby, have our deep appreciation for their steadfast leadership."

Said Rep. Bilirakis: "Tourism is an integral part of our economy, especially in Florida. Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs. My bill means job growth without utilizing a cent of taxpayer dollars. In fact, it lowers the deficit. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill. I am pleased my legislation was included in H. Res. 83. It is a big win for all Americans in the service and tourism industries, and Floridians all across the state, including the Tampa Bay area. Common-sense solutions like these to boost the economy and create jobs will spur our slow economic recovery."

Said Rep. Welch: "Brand USA has made a tremendous contribution to the tourism sector of the American economy, including in Vermont. At no cost to the taxpayer, the marketing initiatives of this program have boosted international visits and supported tourism jobs in Vermont and across the country. I am pleased that Congress has extended this valuable program for Vermont's economy by approving the Bilirakis-Welch five-year reauthorization."

Said Sen. Reid: "I know how important the travel and tourism industry is to our nation's economy. In Nevada, it is the economy's lifeblood, from the Las Vegas Strip to our pristine natural treasures like Lake Tahoe, tourists from all over the world want to visit. International tourists stay longer and spend more money on their trips to the United States, which creates jobs and opportunities across the tourism industry. This is why the Travel Promotion Act is so important. Since it was enacted in 2010, we have seen how successful it has been, and with this reauthorization, we will make sure that America remains the ultimate tourist destination for decades to come."

Click here to see how Brand USA is working for small and large destinations nationwide.

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org.