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U.S. Travel Hails Bipartisan Move To Extend Brand USA

Bill Introduced Thursday Would Sustain Travel Promotion Program That Has Delivered Proven Economic Benefits to Communities Nationwide

The U.S. Travel Association recently hailed the introduction of Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014, which would reauthorize Brand USA - a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to increasing inbound international travel to the United States.

The program, according to Oxford Economics, generates an estimated $47 in economic benefits for every $1 spent on travel promotion. It is funded by international visitor fees and private matching funds, with no costs being borne by U.S. taxpayers. The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), would reauthorize the program until 2020.

"Through partnerships with America's communities and states, Brand USA has been a powerful force in promoting our nation's destinations around the world and attracting more international visitors and their dollars," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "What's more remarkable, the program delivers these benefits all without costing U.S. taxpayers one dime."

In 2013, Brand USA increased inbound international travel to the United States by 2.3 percent, resulting in 1.1 million additional trips to America. The additional visitation spurred by Brand USA resulted in an estimated $3.4 billion in new visitor spending and $7.4 billion in increased economic output, supported more than 53,000 U.S. jobs and generated $972 million in local, state and federal tax revenue.

The program's impact is especially noteworthy considering that before 2010, the United States was the only major travel destination worldwide that did not have a national travel and tourism marketing organization.

Said Dow: "We have the evidence that states and communities stand to benefit immensely from the renewal of this tested, proven program. Thank you, Senators Klobuchar and Blunt and Representatives Bilirakis and Welch, for sponsoring this common-sense bill to ensure that Brand USA - which works for America - is here to stay. We look forward to working closely with Hill offices to pass this legislation this year."

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