AHLA URGES CONGRESS TO SUPPORT CRITICAL BRAND USA PROGRAM

“Travel and tourism is a critical driver of the U.S. economy, generating $2.3 trillion in economic output and responsible for one in nine American jobs. That's why we are concerned that the Administration’s budget proposal eliminates federal funding for Brand USA, a public-private partnership that has been a catalyst responsible for driving more than 4.3 million incremental international visitors to the U.S. and supports thousands of American jobs,” said Katherine Lugar, AHLA president and CEO.

“In the last several years, Brand USA has been a powerful force in providing America with a competitive edge and has served as a highly successful promotional program attracting millions of visitors from countries near and far. The program boosts the U.S. economy as Brand USA results in nearly $30 billion in total economic impact, contributes nearly $3.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes, and supports an average of nearly 50,000 incremental jobs a year — jobs that cannot be exported and which extend well beyond the travel industry.”

“The program has had long-lasting and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, across all travel sectors. With travel season upon us, it is important for lawmakers to understand the benefits of this program. We need Brand USA’s strong marketing message to remind visitors that the U.S. is open for business.

“Now is the time to ensure the vital economic contributions made by the tourism industry to the nation’s GDP remain strong. We look forward to actively engaging with both key officials in the Administration and Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to encourage them to keep Brand USA intact and ensure certainty and economic stability.”

BACKGROUND

Brand USA was created by Congress in 2010, began operating in 2011, and has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support ever since. It has been funded through visa fees every year and Congress voted in 2014 to reauthorize the program until 2020.

Brand USA has been a wildly successful public-private partnership to promote international travel to the United States. Last year alone, Brand USA’s marketing efforts resulted in more than 1 million additional U.S. visitors and $4.1 billion in visitor spending, all of which has been critical to U.S. economic growth and job creation.

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Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 8 million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry that advances long-term career opportunities for employees, invests in local communities across the country and hosts more than one billion guests’ stays in American hotels every year. AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and generates nearly $170 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments. Learn more at www.AHLA.com.