The U.S. Senate voted this week to reauthorize Brand USA as part of a broader end-of-year spending package. The act secures funding for Brand USA, which would have expired next year, through 2027.
Established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, Brand USA is a public-private partnership created to promote travel to the United States. It primarily runs global consumer marketing campaigns in 14 core countries. These efforts include everything from social media campaigns to short movies that screen in museums and science centers around the world.
Speaking at the American Hotel & Lodging Association's and AAHOA's 2019 Legislative Action Summit in September, Mike Fullerton, senior director of public policy at Brand USA, said that over the past six years the direct marketing organization increased visitation an additional 6.6 million visitors. Those visitors, he said, spent $21.8 billion, helped add 52,000 incremental new jobs each year and had a $47.7 billion total economic impact.
“America’s hotel owners applaud the congressional reauthorization of Brand USA,” Cecil Staton, president/CEO of AAHOA, said in a statement. “This public-private partnership is vitally important to promoting America as a destination to the world. Brand USA helps attract international travelers to our shores by touting the best of what our country offers—and at no cost to taxpayers. Over the past two years, AAHOA’s members initiated thousands of meetings with their lawmakers to help them recognize this program’s importance to job creation and local economies, and we are grateful to our lawmakers for listening. We are also grateful to our partners at the Visit U.S. Coalition for their invaluable leadership in promoting this initiative. America has much to offer the world, and, thanks to Brand USA’s reauthorization, international travelers will continue to hear about the exceptionalism of American destinations.”
Earlier this week, before the Senate's vote, AH&LA President/CEO Chip Rogers applauded the House of Representatives for passing the spending bill. In his statement at the time, he described reauthorizing Brand USA as "critically important to encouraging more inbound international travelers." He continued, "With the hotel industry supporting 1 in 25 American jobs, encouraging greater travel and tourism to the United States is critical to powering the nation’s economy." Rogers also praised the spending bill for including the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which allows hotels insurance to cover the risk of loss to collateral, as well as for providing relief under the H-2B cap.
The U.S. Travel Association, a national, nonprofit organization representing the travel industry, has also advocated for Brand USA. "By approving Brand USA, Congress sends a clear message to the American people: smart, bipartisan policymaking that generates economic value and jobs is alive and well in Washington," USTA President/CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "Brand USA's work to boost international visitation is absolutely essential to the U.S. trade balance, and the fact that it operates without sending American taxpayers a bill make it a model public-private partnership that delivers proven results. Congress should be widely applauded for this move by anyone who cares about the U.S. economy and trade."