Senate Committee Says "Yes" to Brand USA Reauthorization

grand canyonTravel industry leaders expressed thanks for the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's unanimous approval of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014, which would reauthorize Brand USA—the public-private partnership dedicated to increasing inbound international travel to the United States.

The House of Representatives approved a companion bill on Tesday by a vote of 347-57. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) was among the travel groups expressing appreciation for that vote:

"U.S. travel leaders thank Chairman Jay Rockefeller, ranking member John Thune and members of the Senate Commerce Committee for their vote of confidence today in Brand USA," said Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association."The Senate committee vote follows the House's resounding approval of this important travel program, and we are extremely pleased that Congress is moving forward on extending the proven benefits of Brand USA for another five years."

Enacted in 2010 through the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, Brand USA is an integrated marketing and communications program that promotes international travel to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The program is financed entirely by foreign visitors and the travel industry. Brand USA does not cost federal taxpayers one dime.

A report released earlier this month, "Brand USA: Working for All of Us,"details the benefits of Brand USA including the attraction of more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States, $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending, 53,000 new U.S. jobs and $1 billion in federal, local and state tax revenue.

"Brand USA provides enormous economic opportunities and job growth for large and small communities across the country," Dow stressed. At the same time he urged Senate leadership to bring this bill to the Senate floor immediately so Brand USA can be reauthorized and its economic promise and benefits can continue.

"We extend our specific thanks to Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt for their tireless championing of this measure, Chairman Brian Schatz and ranking member Tim Scott of the Tourism, Competitiveness and Innovation Subcommittee for their stewardship of the bill," said Dow. He also thanked other members of the committee who co-sponsored the legislation—Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Mark Begich of Alaska, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.