Brand USA Reauthorization Bill Nears Final Vote

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Washington, DC – Congress was on the verge of passing the reauthorization of the popular Brand USA marketing program in late July following a determined lobbying push by the trade show industry.

The reauthorization bill for the U.S. Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Promotion Act passed in the House of Representatives on July 22 and then cleared an important Senate committee the next day, leaving only a vote by the full Senate as the final hurdle. Brand USA is part of the Travel Promotion Act.

“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,” said Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, after the bill received unanimous approval by the Senate Commerce Committee. The committee vote was taken a day after the bill passed in the House on a 347-57 vote.

USTA said it was not immediately known when the full Senate would vote on the reauthorization, but it was hoped it would come before the congressional Summer recess begins on July 31. Industry leaders have pointed out that the measure enjoys bipartisan support and doesn’t require taxpayer funding, which greatly improves the odds of it passing quickly.

Reauthorizing Brand USA was one of the legislative matters the trade show industry discussed with Congress during its Exhibitions Day lobbying mission to Capitol Hill in June. The program is an integrated marketing and communications strategy to draw international visitors to the U.S.   It is funded entirely by the travel industry and through various fees paid by foreign travelers.

USTA said that in 2013 alone, Brand USA was credited with attracting an additional 1.1 visitors and $3.4 billion in spending to the U.S.

Brand USA provides enormous economic opportunities and job growth for large and small communities across the country,” said Dow. “We urge Senate leadership to bring this bill to the floor immediately, so Brand USA can be reauthorized and its economic promise and benefits can continue.”

Reach Roger Dow at (202) 408-8422 or rdow@ustravel.org