WASHINGTON – President Obama signed into law a five-year extension of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act last night. 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. The act also enhances Brand USA by adding a number of accountability and transparency requirements.
"Tourism is an integral part of our economy – especially in Florida,” said Bilirakis. “Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs. My bill means job growth without utilizing a cent of taxpayer money. In fact, it lowers the deficit. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill with a proven track record. I am pleased my initiative is now law. It is a big win for all Americans in the service and tourism industries, and Floridians all across the state, including the Tampa Bay area. Common sense solutions like these to boost the economy and create jobs will spur our economic recovery."
“Marketing our tourism industry globally creates jobs locally,” said Farr. “Travel is our nation’s number one export, supporting one in nine jobs here in the United States. Bringing in more visitors will not only help strengthen our national economy but it will help create jobs in every single community throughout the country.”
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 Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act was included in the omnibus appropriations bill that passed the House last Thursday. The Senate approved the bill on Saturday, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature. The language pertaining to Brand USA’s reauthorization can be found in Division B, Title VI of the omnibus bill.
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