Washington – Today, Visit U.S. Coalition member CEOs met with congressional leaders to discuss the importance of a legislative funding fix for Brand USA, which is set to expire in 2020. International visitation to the U.S. is a vital part of a thriving American economy, as it directly supports 1.2 million American jobs and helps lower the trade deficit.
The group of Visit U.S. Coalition CEOs included Robert Cresanti, President and CEO of the International Franchise Association; Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association; Rachel Humphrey, Interim CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association; Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association; and Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Brand USA promotes U.S. destinations abroad, both large and small, all at no cost to the taxpayer. With strong bipartisan support, Congress created this public-private partnership in 2010 with funds from a small fee paid by eligible Visa Waiver Program participants upon entering the U.S. These funds are then matched 1:1 up to $100 million by private sector partners.
The U.S.’s drop in market share of international travelers is not new, slipping from a peak 13.7% in 2015 to 11.7% in 2018. Meaning that while more people around the world are traveling, less are choosing to visit the U.S. However, without Brand USA, this decline would have been much worse, which is evidenced by Brand USA’s 25:1 return on investment.
“The impact Brand USA has on the American economy cannot be overstated,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Since Fiscal Year 2013, Brand USA has brought in 6.6 million incremental visitors, which has resulted in a $47.7 billion total economic impact and nearly 52,000 American jobs. Brand USA is a powerful economic driver we simply cannot let fall through the cracks.”
In meetings with congressional leaders, Visit U.S. Coalition member CEOs highlighted the urgent need to renew Brand USA, not just for its positive impacts on the trade deficit and GDP, but also for its important role in supporting American jobs all across the nation that depend on a strong tourism industry.
“America is the greatest country in the world, and we want that message heard across the globe,” Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “Brand USA is our greatest cheerleader abroad, and Congress must act now to preserve all of its benefits internationally and here at home.”
“With nearly 60 bipartisan Senators urging their colleagues to secure a funding fix for Brand USA and many in the House signing a similar letter, it is clear that renewing Brand USA is a nonpartisan no-brainer,” said Robert Cresanti, President and CEO of the International Franchise Association.
“International travel to the U.S. is key to a thriving gaming industry,” added Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “The benefits of Brand USA are undeniable, and we need a fix now before the clock runs out.”
“If we want to win back our share of the international travel market, we have to compete, and we cannot do that without Brand USA,” said Rachel Humphrey, Interim President and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.