Gardner, Blunt, Klobuchar, Cortez Masto Introduce Bill to Support Travel & Tourism, Boost Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism across the country by promoting international travel to the United States.

“Colorado’s tourism industry has exploded in growth as more than 80 million visitors each year travel to ski our world-class resorts, enjoy the great outdoors, and experience the real American West,” said Senator Gardner. “With direct flights to Denver International Airport from countries as varied as Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany, our state shines as one of the nation’s top ten most visited states. This bill will boost further tourism by strengthening the Brand USA program, which is the promotion agency for U.S. tourism and operates at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. I look forward to working to get this legislation signed into law and helping grow the U.S. tourism industry, which generates more than $20 billion in annual spending in Colorado.”

Since 2013, Brand USA has brought 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the United States, generating a total economic impact of nearly $48 billion and supporting an average of around 52,000 jobs annually. In 2018, Brand USA generated $4.1 billion in incremental visitor spending, resulting in a marketing return on investment of 32:1.

The program has been a proven success in boosting tourism to the United States and driving economic growth, but the 2018 congressional budget caps agreement diverted Brand USA’s user fees away from the program to general revenue.

Brand USA is funded by international visitors and private contributions – not U.S. taxpayers. Half of its budget comes from the private sector through cash and in-kind contributions. The rest of the budget – up to a maximum of $100 million – is funded by a nominal fee assessed on visa-free international visitors screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Amounts collected in excess of the cap are returned to the U.S. Treasury to help reduce the deficit.

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