America’s crucial but vulnerable inbound tourism market received a boost Tuesday with introduction of a Senate bill to reauthorize Brand USA, the organization charged with marketing the U.S. as an international travel destination.
Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation to enact Brand USA’s long-term reauthorization, extending the organization’s funding mechanism—currently set to expire next year—through 2027.
Brand USA’s reauthorization is a worthwhile investment. According to a return-on-investment study released earlier this year by Oxford Economics, Brand USA’s marketing efforts over the past six years have generated:
- 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the U.S.
- $22 billion in visitor spending.
- $47.7 billion total economic impact.
- Support for an average of 52,000 incremental American jobs every year.
The introduction of the bill comes at a critical time. America’s share of the global travel market is slipping, having fallen from 13.7% in 2015 to its current 11.7%. That decline represents a difference of 14 million visitors and a hit to the economy of $59 billion in spending and 120,000 American jobs.
Without the proven success of Brand USA, the decline would have been far worse. Brand USA keeps the United States competitive in the global travel market and sends international visitors to destinations beyond the gateway cities—ensuring all regions of the U.S. reap the economic and employment benefits directly associated with international visitation.
“The renewal of Brand USA is critical to driving American jobs and exports, as well as travelers throughout the country,” said U.S. Travel 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. We thank and congratulate Senators Blunt, Klobuchar, Gardner and Cortez Masto for this legislation that does a tremendous service to their states and the entire country.”
Added U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes: “Securing Brand USA’s long-term reauthorization will have a tremendous impact on the American economy and workforce, and is the key to regaining America’s lost share of the global travel market.
“We thank the senators for their continued efforts to support the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs are supported by the travel industry.”
U.S. Travel is confident that Congress can once again come together to renew this valuable program. Brand USA was reauthorized in 2014 with broad bipartisan support, and as recently as May received bipartisan support with nearly 50 signatures urging its reauthorization on a “Dear Colleague” letter to Senate leadership.
U.S. Travel will continue to work with Senate champions and the rest of Congress to ensure the passage of this bill and Brand USA’s ultimate renewal.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.2 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation's economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.