by Susmita Baral | July 17, 2019
A new bipartisan Senate bill proposes to reauthorize Brand USA, the organization tasked with promoting the United States as a premier international travel destination. The legislation was introduced Tuesday by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). 
Should Congress renew the program, the legislation will provide funding - current funding, reauthorized in 2014, is slated to expire next year - for Brand USA until 2027. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the reauthorization of the organization is worth the investment. The USTA cites an Oxford Economics study that found quantitative results from Brand USA's marketing efforts. Specifically, over the past six years, there has been 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the U.S., $22 billion in visitor spending, $47.7 billion in total economic impact and support for roughly 52,000 incremental American jobs annually. 

The bill is introduced during a crucial time, as inbound tourism in the U.S. is vulnerable: America has seen a decline in its share of the global travel market, with ownership of 13.7 percent of the market in 2015 to a present claim of 11.7 percent. That's a difference of 14 million visitors since 2015, which translates to $59 billion less in spending that impacts 120,000 American jobs. 

"The renewal of Brand USA is critical to driving American jobs and exports, as well as travelers throughout the country," said U.S. Travel's president and CEO Roger Dow. "This is smart policymaking in support of a proven program that will help sustain our economic expansion for years to come without cost to taxpayers. We thank and congratulate Senators Blunt, Klobuchar, Gardner and Cortez Masto for this legislation that does a tremendous service to their states and the entire country."

U.S. Travel executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Barnes added: "Securing Brand USA's long-term reauthorization will have a tremendous impact on the American economy and workforce, and is the key to regaining America's lost share of the global travel market. We thank the senators for their continued efforts to support the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs are supported by the travel industry."