by Sarah J.F. Braley | June 05, 2017
Following President Donald Trump's budget proposal, which includes cutting all federal funding of Brand USA, more travel groups are speaking out in support of the marketing organization that seeks to increase inbound travel to the United States.
A letter has been delivered to key congressional committees in which the U.S. Travel Association -- along with more than 300 travel businesses, associations and destination marketing organizations -- highlighted Brand USA's new return-on-investment numbers, and the agency's vital role in job creation across America.
"Brand USA is an outstanding performer from an ROI standpoint, and hamstringing this successful public-private partnership would be a bad move for our economy," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The value Brand USA adds is simply phenomenal, it's all done without a dime of taxpayer money. Millions of visitors who would not have come here otherwise have visited the U.S. because of Brand USA's marketing campaigns, and they've added billions to the U.S. economy and supported tens of thousands of additional U.S. jobs per year. Now more than ever, Brand USA's efforts are needed to show the world that America is, and always will be, a welcoming destination with so much to offer international visitors."
Emphasizing Brand USA's broad bipartisan support in Congress, the letter to House and Senate committee leaders outlines the agency's task of attracting international business and leisure travelers to all 50 states -- not just the major gateway cities.
Results of an independent analysis of Brand USA's return on investment were presented by Chris Thompson,the group's president and CEO, at U.S. Travel's IPW gathering in Washington, D.C., today. Compiled by independent research firm Oxford Economics, the numbers show that over the last four years, Brand USA's marketing efforts have resulted in:
• More than 4 million additional visitors to the U.S. who might not have visited otherwise;
• Nearly $14 billion in additional visitor spending;
• Nearly 51,000 additional American jobs per year; and
• Nearly $4 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue, helping fund vital services like fire departments and public schools.
Brand USA is funded by $10 from the $14 Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) fee paid by visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries; these monies are matched by private-sector contributions. The report also shows that, in return, every $1 Brand USA spends on marketing generates $27 to the U.S. economy.
"Based on their stated priorities of economic, job and export growth, the Trump administration officials have every reason to support Brand USA," added Dow. "As we welcome the world to America in the White House's backyard during this year's IPW, I hope they will see the tremendous value of the agency, and evolve their position on this successful organization."