Having succeeded in waking up this country to the need for marketing and promotion to attract and increase international visitors, Brand USA appears set to win Congressional reauthorization for another five years.
The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014, which would reauthorize the public/private partnership known as Brand USA, has passed a Senate committee and its companion bill has been approved by the House of Representatives. All that remains is approval by the full Senate.
Brand USA was enacted in 2010 through the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, and is financed entirely by foreign visitors and the travel industry. It is the promotional counterpart to the U.S. Travel Association, the nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing pro-travel policies and removing barriers to travel to and within the U.S.
Among Brand USA’s achievements in 2013:
• 1.1 million additional visitors to the U.S., resulting in $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending
• the support of 53,000 new U.S. jobs
• $1 billion in federal, local, and state tax revenue
Despite these numbers, the U.S. travel and tourism community still has work to do. According to FAQs at the Brand USA Web site: “Visitation is up—but not enough. We have a lot of ground to make up to get even close to the market share we once enjoyed more than 10 years ago. In fact, between 2000 and 2010 the U.S. share of international arrivals dropped 36 percent (from a market share of 17 percent to 12.4 percent). The associated economic costs of that decline are estimated to be a loss of 78 million visitors, $606 billion in spending, and support for 467,000 jobs annually. One reason for the significant decline is that prior to Brand USA’s formation the United States did not have a nationally coordinated collaborative marketing effort.”