NTA President Lisa Simon urged the travel industry to support Brand USA, the marketing arm of the United States, as Brand USA enters a period of transition. NTA noted that Brand USA’s chief executive officer, Jim Evans, stepped down last week, replaced by Caroline Beteta, Brand USA’s chairman-elect. Beteta will serve Brand USA as interim CEO.
Congress created the public-private organization in 2010 after the United States’ share of international arrivals declined 37 percent during the preceding decade. Brand USA has also been supported by the U.S. Travel Association.
“Brand USA is working to bring international travelers back to the United States, and it’s critical for all of us in the travel and tourism industry to support the organization,” said Simon. “NTA is grateful to Jim Evans for his leadership, and we look forward to continued progress.”
Simon said she has reached out to Beteta to offer NTA’s continued support.
Last month Brand USA launched the nation’s first unified marketing campaign, promoting the United States as a premier travel destination in three top-tier markets: Japan, Canada and the U.K., NTA noted.
The campaign includes images and information about the country’s diverse tourism product and entry procedures, NTA said. Other accomplishments during its first year of operation include developing a strong brand identity, creating an informative and promotional Web site and establishing partnerships with more than 250 industry organizations. The partnerships will raise more than $10 million in industry contributions and more than $30 million in in-kind contributions, NTA said.
“Destinations, suppliers and tour operators across the country will benefit from this fresh marketing campaign, but there’s no free lunch,” said Simon. “Brand USA needs to raise cash and in-kind investments to unlock federal funds set aside for its operation. I call on my industry colleagues to find ways to help.”
Simon said the NTA is collaborating with Brand USA to present the Discover America Pavilion at the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai this November. Revenue from the event will allow Brand USA to obtain matching dollars generated by international tourists’ fees.
NTA also said it gave Brand USA an opportunity to speak to industry professionals at the May Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit, sponsored by NTA with the Southeast Tourism Society and Destination Marketing Association International.
“One thing we can all do is advocate for Brand USA and help maintain the momentum,” said Simon. “Make sure your federal legislators know how marketing this country abroad leads to more jobs and prosperity here at home.”