Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs statement on committee approval of travel bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif. and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla. released the following joint statement in response to the House Energy & Commerce Committee approval of H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014:
"As co-chairs of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, we are pleased to announce that the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 (HR 4450) was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. This bill will enable our country to increase its success in the international traveler market by reauthorizing Brand USA. It’s our nation’s Destination Marketing Organization or DMO, and it will allow them to bring greater numbers of international travelers to our shores.
'These travelers provide a substantial boost to our economy and produce many U.S. jobs. We know that international visitors coming to the United States are measured as an export, and travel and tourism is the top export industry. Number One! Seventy million international visitors, spending over $180 billion dollars, have produced a trade surplus every year since 1989 – and Brand USA is a crucial part of this. A recent Brand USA report showed that FY13 saw an increase of 1.1 million visitors. That increase brings an additional $3.4 billion in spending to our economy and supports over 50,000 new jobs.
'These international visitors, and their economic benefits, travel throughout America to major destinations like New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Chicago. And yet, it is our “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties” that attract travelers to all corners of our country.
'The benefits from international visitors are substantial, and Brand USA is a real value that produces a considerable return on investment - more than 30 to 1. That’s an unbeatable deal that is done at no U.S. taxpayer expense. The funding for this program is provided by the international visitors that come to the United States.
'This bill has consistently had bipartisan support. It passed out of committee with bipartisan support and is cosponsored by over 140 Members, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.
"As co-chairs of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, we like to say that travel and tourism is in every state, every territory, and congressional district across this country. We are excited to see this legislation move forward, and, if you haven’t done so already, we ask you to join us in our strong support of HR 4450."
The legislation also has broad support by the travel and tourism industry. A complete list of groups that support H.R. 4450 can be found here.
Brand USA bill receives unanimous vote
WASHINGTON, DC –The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade voted unanimously to pass H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act today. The legislation authored by Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chair Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and co-sponsored by co-chair Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and caucus member Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., strengthens the United States’ competitiveness in the global travel and tourism markets by reauthorizing Brand USA – a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States. H.R. 4450 also enhances Brand USA by adding a number of accountability and transparency requirements.
“The United States is a global hub for commerce and travel, and an exceptional attraction for international tourists. Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy. Increased tourism means more American jobs,” Bilirakis said. “I am proud that my colleagues have joined me in a bipartisan effort to pass H.R. 4450 through the Subcommittee. The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act will increase Brand USA’s efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. My legislation means promoting economic growth while not utilizing a dime of taxpayer dollars. It is time to get Americans across the country back to work.”
“Competing globally creates jobs locally,” said Farr. “The travel and tourism industry is our nation’s number one export, supporting one in nine jobs. Bringing in more global travelers is not only necessary to grow our national economy but it will strengthen local economies in every single community throughout the country. Congressman Bilirakis has done a great job moving this legislation that builds upon the success of the Brand USA program and today’s unanimous vote shows the strong support it has in Congress.”
Brand USA, which is completely funded by international visitors and private industry contributions, is the country’s first national Destination Marketing Organization and markets the United States as a premier travel destination to world. The program’s activities brought in an additional 1.1 million visitors to the United States, resulting in a $7.4 billion impact on the economy and supported the creation of over 50,000 new jobs in fiscal year 2013.
The bipartisan bill has attracted more than 137 co-sponsors in the House. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
The legislation also has broad support by the travel and tourism industry. A complete list of groups that support H.R. 4450 can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1qoaC7s
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