Travel Community Trumpets House Vote to Renew Brand USA
U.S. Travel's Signature Legislative Effort One Step Closer to Fruition This Year
U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014, which re-authorizes Brand USA:
"The travel community heartily congratulates House leaders of both parties for embracing a policy that pays clear dividends for the U.S. economy: extending Brand USA and the outstanding work it does to attract international travelers and their dollars to American shores.
"The job-creating effects of travel activity, and the back-end return on travel promotion efforts, are both absolutely beyond questioning. It's hard to believe that in the hyper-competitive global travel market, the U.S. was without any agency performing these functions at a national level before Brand USA came into being three years ago. It's why we were losing market share to destinations in Asia and Europe, where tourism promotion is usually a cabinet-level public ministry.
“By moving to keep Brand USA in business, the House has paved the way for us to build on our record 70 million inbound international visitors last year. Overseas visitors to the U.S. spend nearly $4,500 on average per trip—dollars that support jobs that cannot be exported.
"Our special thanks go out to Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and Peter Welch for championing this effort from beginning to end, as well as Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Henry Waxman, and Chairman Lee Terry and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee for orchestrating unanimous votes at the markup stages."
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit www.ustravel.org.
Advocacy Updates from CIC Meetings Industry Advocacy Hub
Economic Significance Study
This month, CIC hosted DMAI’s #TourismChat on Twitter, using as its topic the recently released Economic Significance Study and industry advocacy. It was a lively discussion on the value of meetings to local destinations and the economy as a whole. CIC is developing a toolkit for meeting professionals to assist them in talking about the value of the industry and the value of what they do. More to come in a future update.
For a copy of the study’s executive summary and key findings go to the CIC website.
BRAND USA REAUTHORIZATION: Legislation was introduced last month to reauthorize Brand USA beyond 2015. The “Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act” (H.R. 4450) is a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) to reauthorize funding for Brand USA through 2020. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobucahar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Brand USA, created by the “Travel Promotion Act” in 2010, has helped the U.S. reverse its declining share of the global tourism market. In fiscal year 2013, Brand USA attracted 1.1 million additional international travelers whose spending in the U.S. supported more than 53,000 new American jobs. For every $1 Brand USA spent in 2013 to promote the U.S. abroad, $47 dollars were spent by additional international visitors.
Brand USA is funded through a 50/50 combination of private sector contributions and fees that the government collects from international visitors arriving in the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries.
The Brand USA reauthorization bill has 60 co-sponsors in the House. The Senate-passed immigration reform bill included a permanent extension of the Travel Promotion Act and Brand USA, but that bill is stalled in the House.
To find out if your Member is a co-sponsor, go to the Power of Travel website. You can help in the effort; the Coalition has made it easy to do. Follow this link to send a message to your Representative and Senators.
GOVERNMENT MEETINGS: On April 29th, the House passed the DATA Act, (S. 994) requiring federal agencies to publish spending information in standardized formats. For the meetings and travel community, the bill was most significant because it omitted a provision that originally mandated across-the-board cutbacks in federal employee travel through 2018. US Travel Association lead efforts that helped strip that language from a previous version which passed in the House. The industry will continue to monitor these efforts and defend the value of legitimate government travel and meetings.
TAX REFORM: The likelihood of comprehensive tax reform being enacted this year remains slim, but staff for the Congressional tax-writing committees have recently cautioned against complacency for those working on issues in the discussion draft released by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).
While a comprehensive bill may not be enacted, some provisions in the discussion draft could be included in other bills. For associations and other tax-exempt organizations who sponsor meetings, changes to make certain qualified sponsorship payments subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) would be of concern. ASAE is monitoring the issue.
SPREAD THE WORD: Forward this email and ask others to Join the Effort to create a larger grassroots coalition to act and respond to the issues that effect our industry.
Thank you for your time and action.
From the Meetings Industry Advocacy Hub Team
Powered by Voices in Advocacy®
Meetings Industry Associations...