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House Approves Bipartisan Tourism Bill to Boost the Economy and Create Jobs


Bilirakis Legislation Reauthorizes and Reforms Brand USA

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today approved H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014, by a strong bipartisan vote. This bipartisan legislation, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), reauthorizes Brand USA, a public-private partnership that helps market U.S. destinations to international travelers at no cost to taxpayers. The bill also includes important reforms to increase transparency and accountability in the program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting H.R. 4450 would reduce the U.S. federal deficit by $231 million over 10 years.

“My legislation means job growth without utilizing a dime of taxpayer dollars. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and H.R. 4450 will help them get back to work. Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill,” said Bilirakis. “I am proud that my colleagues have joined me in a bipartisan effort to pass H.R. 4450 in the House of Representatives, continuing the House’s track record of passing meaningful, impactful bills to help Americans across the country. The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act will increase Brand USA’s efficiency, effectiveness, transparency – it is a huge step forward for the accountability of the program. It is my hope the Senate will pass the companion bill – S. 2250 – without delay.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “I thank Mr. Bilirakis and Mr. Welch for their leadership in spearheading this bipartisan bill that will encourage international travelers to visit U.S. destinations, which helps to create jobs and support economic growth in communities across the nation. In 2013, Brand USA generated an additional 1.1 million visitors to the U.S. and $3.4 billion in additional spending at U.S. businesses. This increase in spending triggered the creation of more than 53,000 American jobs and $2.2 billion in payroll. Brand USA delivers all of these benefits to the U.S. economy at no cost to the American taxpayers, and the added transparency and accountability measures included in this legislation will help improve the program and allow for even greater success.”

Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Lee Terry (R-NE) added, “Thanks to Brand USA, travel agents from abroad can educate their clients on popular attractions in America’s heartland—not just New York City or Los Angeles. Nebraska alone has seen $4.4 billion in economic contributions and 44,275 jobs supported throughout the life of Brand USA. And with H.R. 4450, we increase accountability, as well as transparency requirements and performance metrics to ensure Brand USA is run efficiently. I thank Mr. Bilirakis and Mr. Welch for their hard work in drafting H.R. 4450 so that our economy can continue to benefit from Brand USA.”

A broad group of stakeholders support legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, including:

  • Adventure Travel Trade Association
  • American Bus Association
  • American Gaming Association
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association, including:
  • Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance
  • Alaska Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association
  • Arkansas Hospitality Association
  • California Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Connecticut Lodging Association
  • Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association
  • Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Louisiana Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Maine Innkeepers Association
  • Massachusetts Lodging Association
  • Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association
  • Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association
  • Nebraska Hotel & Motel Association
  • Nevada Hotel & Lodging Association
  • New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association
  • New York Hospitality & Tourism Association
  • North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Rhode Island Hospitality Association
  • South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Tennessee Hospitality Association
  • Texas Hotel & Lodging Association
  • The Hawai’I Lodging & Tourism Association
  • Utah Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Vermont Chamber of Commerce
  • Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
  • Washington Lodging Association
  • West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association
  • Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association
  • American Society of Association Executives
  • American Society of Travel Agents
  • Asian American Hotel Owners Association
  • Business Travel Coalition
  • Comcast NBC Universal
  • Cruise Lines International Association
  • Destination Marketing Association International
  • Disney Destinations
  • Enterprise Holdings
  • Explore Minnesota
  • Florida Attractions Association
  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Kansas Travel Industry Association
  • Mall of America
  • Marriott International
  • National Restaurant Association
  • National Tourism and Heritage Association
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry
  • Ohio Association of Conventions and Visitor Bureaus
  • Pure Michigan
  • Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
  • Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce
  • Southeast Tourism Society
  • Springfield (Missouri) Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Texas Travel Industry Association
  • Travel Technology Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S. Olympic Committee
  • U.S. Tour Operators Association
  • U.S. Travel Association
  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • VISIT Buffalo Niagara
  • VISIT Florida
  • VISIT Pittsburg

To read the letters of support, click HERE.

Press Release