Congress has reauthorized Brand USA, the nation’s tourism-marketing
organization, through 2027.
Brand USA, whose funding had been scheduled to expire next year,
survived via a reauthorization measure included in a large end-of-year spending
bill the Senate approved Thursday. President Donald Trump intends to sign it.
U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said the renewal
signals that “smart, bipartisan policymaking that generates economic value and
jobs is alive and well in Washington.”
“Brand USA’s work to boost international visitation is
absolutely essential to the U.S. trade balance, and the fact that it operates
without sending American taxpayers a bill make it a model public-private
partnership that delivers proven results,” he said in a statement. “Congress
should be widely applauded for this move by anyone who cares about the U.S.
economy and trade.”
U.S. Travel has been lobbying for Brand USA’s
reauthorization since 2017, when the Trump administration proposed to eliminate
its funding. The organization, established by Congress in 2010 as a
public-private partnership, is funded by contributions from its more than 700
partner organizations and matched with fees paid by international travelers who
come to the U.S. via the Visa Waiver Program. As part of the reauthorization,
those fees will increase from $10 to $17.
Brand USA’s champions assert that as the U.S. loses global
travel market share, global promotion is needed more than ever. U.S. Travel
executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes told
a congressional subcommittee last month that the U.S. share of the global
travel market had dropped from 13.7% in 2015 to just 11.7% in 2018, a hit to
the economy of about $60 billion in spending and 120,000 American jobs.
“If nothing is done, our market share will continue to erode
and is projected to fall below 11% by 2021,” she said. “This is why it is
crucial for Congress to reauthorize Brand USA this year.”