ASTA Commends U.S. House for Vote on Brand USA

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) said it commends the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R.4450).

Passed last night by the House by a vote of 347 to 57, the legislation would authorize Brand USA, the non-profit, public-private partnership that creates inbound travel to the U.S. In 2013, the 70 million international visitors who traveled to the U.S. spent $181 billion, which directly supported 1.2 million jobs.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office said the reauthorization of Brand USA could cut the U.S. deficit by $231 million: www.travelagentcentral.com/tourism-visitors-bureaus/cbo-says-reauthorizing-brand-usa-will-cut-deficit-231-million-47031

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“ASTA applauds the work of Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) for this bipartisan effort to promote tourism and create jobs here at home,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA's president and CEO. “ASTA’s more than 800 international members work tirelessly every day to help the U.S. realize the benefits of increased visitor market share by selling the U.S. overseas. We need partners such as Brand USA to help more of the world discover the beauty and culture of America."

Earlier in the month, the U.S. Travel Association also released a report showcasing the many benefits Brand USA provides to the economy, including $1 billion annually in U.S., state and local tax revenues. Agents might check out that article here: www.travelagentcentral.com/tourism-visitors-bureaus/stat-us-travel-association-defends-value-brand-usa-46879

Next step? Today, the reauthorization bill heads for a U.S. Senate committee hearing. ASTA said that without this legislation, Brand USA’s five-year authorization would expire in fiscal year 2015; that could mean a loss of jobs in the travel industry as well as in such supporting businesses as national parks, restaurants and retail outlets.

“On behalf of our members who sell travel and provide critical services to the traveling public, we call on the Senate to take up this bill without delay,” said Kerby. For information on ASTA and its programs, visit www.asta.org.