National travel industry efforts to draw more international visitors to the U.S. under the Brand USA program will continue, as Congress reauthorized the public-private partnership this summer. The travel promotion measure was approved by a huge bipartisan majority in the House, showing that there's at least one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on.
The marketing effort is helping the U.S. take a slice of the booming international travel market, which has grown by 59 percent since 2000. Last year, there were about 1 billion international travelers, and that number is expected to grow to 1.7 billion by 2020. In 2013, about 70 million international travelers visited the U.S.
"U.S. travel leaders thank Chairman Jay Rockefeller, Ranking Member John Thune and members of the Senate Commerce Committee for their vote of confidence today in Brand USA," U.S. Travel president and CEO Roger Dow said after a key senate committee passed the bill earlier this year. "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."
The bill was first enacted in 2010 as 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. Brand USA does not cost federal taxpayers one dime.
A report released earlier this year, Brand USA: Working for All of Us, details how Brand USA is delivering for destinations nationwide. In 2013, Brand USA:
- 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 ROI than travel promotion programs operated by competitor nations such as the United Kingdom and Canada.
Said Dow: "Brand USA provides enormous economic opportunities and job growth for large and small communities across the country. We urge Senate leadership to bring this bill to the floor immediately, so Brand USA can be reauthorized and its economic promise and benefits can continue.