America’s crucial but vulnerable inbound tourism market has received a boost with the introduction of a bill in the US Senate to reauthorise Brand USA, the organisation charged with marketing the US as an international travel destination.

Brand USA keeps the United States competitive in the global travel market and encourages international visitors, including Australians, to visit destinations beyond the gateway cities – ensuring all regions of the US reap the economic and employment benefits directly associated with international visitation.

Three senators introduced legislation to enact Brand USA’s long-term reauthorisation, extending the organisation’s funding mechanism until 2027. It is currently set to expire next year.

Brand USA’s reauthorisation is a worthwhile investment. According to a return-on-investment study released earlier this year by Oxford Economics, Brand USA’s marketing efforts over the past six years have generated:

  • 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the US
  • USD 22 billion in visitor spending.
  • USD 47.7 billion total economic impact.
  • Support for an average of 52,000 incremental American jobs every year.

The introduction of the bill comes at a critical time. America’s share of the global travel market is slipping, having fallen from 13.7% in 2015 to its current 11.7%. The US Travel Association (US Travel) points out that the decline represents a difference of 14 million visitors and a hit to the economy of USD 59 billion in spending and 120,000 American jobs.

Without the proven success of Brand USA, the decline would have been far worse.

“The renewal of Brand USA is critical to driving American jobs and exports, as well as travellers throughout the country,” commented US Travel president and chief executive, Roger Dow.

“This is smart policymaking in support of a proven program that will help sustain our economic expansion for years to come without cost to taxpayers. We thank and congratulate Senators Blunt, Klobuchar, Gardner and Cortez Masto for this legislation that does a tremendous service to their states and the entire country.”

Brand USA aims to get tourists out of the main US gateways and into small-town America

US Travel executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Barnes, added: “Securing Brand USA’s long-term reauthorisation will have a tremendous impact on the American economy and workforce, and is the key to regaining America’s lost share of the global travel market.”

US Travel says it is confident that Congress can once again come together to renew this valuable program. Brand USA was reauthorized in 2014 with broad bipartisan support, and as recently as May received bipartisan support with nearly 50 signatures urging its reauthorisation.

Edited by Peter Needham