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July 24, 2014

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Approves Brand USA Reauthorization

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The U.S. got a bit closer to keeping its tourism marketing arm alive yesterday when the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's unanimously approved of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014, which would reauthorize Brand USA—the public-private partnership dedicated to increasing inbound international travel to the United States.

The House of Representatives approved a companion bill on Tesday by a vote of 347-57. 

RELATED: Congressional Budget Office Says Brand USA Could Cut Deficit by $231 million

"The Senate committee vote follows the House's resounding approval of this important travel program, and we are extremely pleased that Congress is moving forward on extending the proven benefits of Brand USA for another five years," Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.

Enacted in 2010 through the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, Brand USA is an integrated marketing and communications program that promotes international travel to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The program is financed entirely by foreign visitors and the travel industry, rather than through federal taxpayers. 

A recent report, "Brand USA: Working for All of Us," details the positive economic benefits for destinations nationwide. For example, in 2013, Brand USA, did the following:

  • Attracted more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States;
  • Resulted in $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending;
  • Supported 53,000 new U.S. jobs;
  • Generated nearly $1 billion in federal, local and state tax revenue; and
  • Yielded a 47:1 return on investment (ROI) on marketing programs—a far higher return on investment than did travel promotion programs operated by competitor nations such as the United Kingdom and Canada.

If approved, the renewal would be significant for the country's leisure and business inbound tourism alike. Prior to Brand USA, the United States had no marketing outreach, and the numbers strongly indicate the efficiency of the program.

"Brand USA provides enormous economic opportunities and job growth for large and small communities across the country," Dow stressed. At the same time he urged Senate leadership to bring this bill to the Senate floor immediately so Brand USA can be fully reauthorized and its economic promise and benefits can continue.

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