Roundtable Weekly
Brand USA Reauthorization Bill Advanced by House Subcommittee
November 16, 2019

Legislation to reauthorize Brand USA – the organization that promotes the U.S. globally as a travel destination – easily cleared a markup by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on Nov. 14. 

  • Brand USA is a public-private partnership that attracts international travelers to the U.S. to encourage tourism spending at America's hospitality, retail, attraction and other properties. The marketing organization operates at no expense to taxpayers – private sector contributions fund the program, matched by U.S. government fees collected from foreign visitors who enjoy visa-free entry to the U.S. The federal portion of Brand USA funding is scheduled to expire in September 2020.

  • Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) during the House markup of The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act (H.R. 3851) stated, “Tourism is critical to our economy and every one our communities. Overseas travelers spend more than their domestic counterparts—an average of $4,200 per trip.  It is critical that we renew Brand USA as soon as possible.”  (Rep. Pallone remarks, Nov.14)

  • In the Senate, the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the “Brand USA Extension Act” on July 24.  S. 2203 would extend the federal cost-share until 2027, and increase the foreign traveler fees that pay for the federal portion.   (Roundtable Weekly, August 9)

  • The Real Estate Roundtable is part of the Visit U.S. Coalition which advocates for Brand USA reauthorization.  The coalition, led by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, also includes the American Resort Development Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes noted, “International visitation to the U.S. is flat at a time when global travel is booming, which means that we are leaving a huge opportunity for economic growth on the table.  The situation would be far worse without Brand USA’s demonstrated effectiveness at bringing lucrative international visitor dollars to our shores, and House and committee leaders are to be commended for recognizing the urgency to renew Brand USA this year.” (USTA press release, Nov. 14)

  • The importance of international travel to the domestic economy, job growth, and CRE was the focus of a panel discussion during The Roundtable's 2018 Annual Meeting. (Roundtable Weekly, June 15, 2018).

The Visit U.S. Coalition is urging inclusion of a bipartisan Brand USA reauthorization bill in must-pass legislation before the end of the year.

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