Washington – Today, the Visit U.S. Coalition distributed a letter to Capitol Hill endorsed by nearly 600 organizations representing all 50 states urging Congress to renew Brand USA this year.
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, funding it with a small fee paid by incoming foreign travelers rather than out of general revenues and contributions from the private-sector. Today, Brand USA operates at a 29:1 return on investment—a program with undeniable economic benefits at no cost to the taxpayer.
The letter, which was organized by the Visit U.S. Coalition, is signed by a diverse array of companies and organizations across multiple industries that depend upon international inbound travel.
“Brand USA promotes destinations both large and small, from Alabama to Wyoming. Reauthorizing Brand USA funding this year will help all sectors of our economy, from retailers to restaurants, at every level of employment,” said Visit U.S. Coalition spokesman Amos Snead. “People across the globe are traveling now more than ever, but the marketplace for their visits is hyper-competitive. As we look to continue the U.S. economy’s upward trajectory, we need Brand USA to continue communicating abroad that America is the premier destination for international travelers.”
Brand USA funding was inadvertently diverted in the Balanced Budget Act of 2018. As international travelers who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program travel to the United States, they pay a small fee. To date, a portion of that fee has been used to fund Brand USA, and those fees have been matched 1:1 by private funding.
If Congress does not renew Brand USA this year, $17.7 billion in visitor spending, $5 billion in tax revenue, and 51,000 American jobs generated are at risk.
The Visit U.S. Coalition represents a broad cross-section of industries that have come together to address the decline in the U.S.’s international travel market share and resulting opportunity cost to the U.S. economy and jobs.