Washington – Today, the Visit U.S. Coalition called on Congress to renew Brand USA – a vital economic driver that encourages international travel to the U.S. at no cost to the taxpayer.
“Brand USA promotes America around the globe as a premier travel destination. Reauthorizing funding for the program will fuel economic growth with foreign visitor spending everywhere from restaurants and retail stores to hotels and resorts,” said Visit U.S. Coalition spokesman Andrea Riccio. “People across the globe are traveling now more than ever, but they are choosing destinations other than America. To bolster American jobs and the economy we need Brand USA to communicate that America is open for business and welcomes legitimate international travelers.”
Brand USA is a public-private partnership established to market the United States as a travel destination to international visitors. Congress created the program in 2010 with strong bipartisan support. Today, Brand USA operates at a 29:1 return on investment — a program with undeniable economic benefits at no cost to the taxpayer.
The program is funded by a small fee from international travelers who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program that is matched 1:1 with private dollars. However, the administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget recommends diverting funds from Brand USA.
Earlier this year, nearly 600 businesses and organizations wrote a letter to Congress in support of Brand USA renewal – referencing the $2.4 trillion in economic output and over 15 million American jobs created by the travel industry.
The Visit U.S. Coalition represents a broad cross-section of industries that have come together to address the decline in international travelers to the U.S. and resulting opportunity cost to the U.S. economy and jobs.