The U.S. government has approved a new bill which will allocate $250 million (€230 million) in funding to Brand USA.
The funding to Brand USA, which is recognised as America’s leading marketing organisation, comes as part of an omnibus spending bill and package valued at around $1.5 trillion. The bill passed the US Senate in September 2021, followed by approval in the House of Representatives earlier in March 2022.
Brand USA could be key to regain tourism spending
In a public statement, US Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said “as international travel spending remains 78% below pre-pandemic levels, the relief provided by the bill — which utilises existing funds at no cost to American taxpayers — will help the international travel segment rebound more quickly and restore US jobs”.
Summer 2022 is considered to be a key month for travel in America. Thus, the funding has arrived at an optimum time, with countries across the globe competing for travellers and funding.
It has been reported that America has faced difficulties in regaining its travel income from 2019. There were reportedly 2.15 million inbound international arrivals in February 2022. This was a 53.7% drop when compared to February 2019, as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.
Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson communicated optimism and relief in a public statement. “Today marks a new milestone in the US travel and tourism industry’s recovery from Covid-19”, he said. “The bipartisan support Brand USA has in both the House and the Senate is remarkable and speaks volumes about the faith and trust Congress has in our industry to lead the economy back to solid footing”.
“A new milestone in the US travel and tourism industry’s recovery”
In a news release, Brand USA described the funding allocation as “a new milestone in the US travel and tourism industry’s recovery”. The international segment of the travel economy is regarded as the most lucrative, yet has been one of the slowest to return to pre-pandemic levels. The funding will reportedly allow Brand USA and its partners to rebuild traveller confidence, as well as boost demand and accelerate the return of international visitation and spend.
Brand USA believes that welcoming more travellers back will translate directly into economic growth, as well as create quality jobs and tax revenues across American communities. ”We appreciate the many champions in Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers who acknowledge the critical role of international travel to our nation’s economic vitality”, the organisation said. “We’re also thankful for our friends at the US Travel Association and others who advocated so forcefully to advance this bill across the finish line. Most importantly, we’re thankful for the ongoing faith, trust, and support of our partners”.
Brand USA gains bipartisan support
US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow affirmed that regaining strength in travel and tourism is a bipartisan issue for the US governing bodies.
“Brand USA has historically garnered strong bipartisan support due to its focus on promoting both urban and rural destinations, as well as its strong return on investment, which yields an average of $26 for each $1 spent on marketing activities”, he said. “We are pleased that Congress has once again recognized the value this program holds for travel businesses and local economies in every pocket of the country”.
Brand USA has been described as a highly successful public-private partnership formed under the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The organisation is responsible for promoting the US as a destination to global travellers.
In 2019, the year-end funding agreement included language to renew Brand USA through 2027, ensuring this program continues to deliver for all of America.