Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in introducing legislation to reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism across the country by promoting international travel to the United States.
“Restoring funding to Brand USA is a critical investment in Nevada and the hundreds of thousands of jobs in our tourism and hospitality industries,” said Cortez Masto. “Brand USA has a proven record of boosting tourism to the United States, creating good-paying jobs and driving economic growth, and it doesn’t cost U.S. taxpayers a dime. I’m proud to join Senators Blunt, Klobuchar, and Gardner in leading this bipartisan effort to make crucial investments in jobs in Nevada and throughout the country.”
“The renewal of Brand USA is critical to driving American jobs and exports, as well as travelers throughout the country,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association. “This is smart policymaking in support of a proven program that will help sustain our economic expansion for years to come without cost to taxpayers. We thank and congratulate Senators Blunt, Klobuchar, Gardner and Cortez Masto for this legislation that does a tremendous service to their states and the entire country.”
Senator Cortez Masto has been a strong advocate for continued funding of Brand USA. Earlier this year, she was recognized with U.S. Travel’s Distinguished Travel Champion Award for her leadership on this issue. In May, Cortez Masto led a bipartisan letter urging the leaders of the Senate Commerce and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committees to protect and renew funding for the program.
Since 2013, Brand USA has brought 6.6 million incremental international visitors to the United States, generating a total economic impact of nearly $48 billion and supporting an average of around 52,000 jobs annually. In 2018, Brand USA generated $4.1 billion in incremental visitor spending, resulting in a marketing return on investment of 32:1.
The program has been a proven success in boosting tourism to the United States and driving economic growth, but the 2018 congressional budget caps agreement diverted Brand USA’s user fees away from the program to general revenue.
Brand USA is funded by international visitors and private contributions – not U.S. taxpayers. Half of its budget comes from the private sector through cash and in-kind contributions. The rest of the budget – up to a maximum of $100 million – is funded by a nominal fee assessed on visa-free international visitors screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Amounts collected in excess of the cap are returned to the U.S. Treasury to help reduce the deficit.