Before lawmakers returned home from Washington for their annual August in-district work session, a pair of bipartisan bills were introduced – in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives – to reauthorize Brand USA, America’s destination marketing organization. This public-private partnership operates at no cost to U.S. taxpayers, but provides exceptional returns for the nation’s economy and job force by growing international inbound tourism to all states and regions across America.

In fact, since 2013, Brand USA’s overall efforts have added $25 to the United States economy for every $1 it spends performing its job. Congress has an opportunity to renew Brand USA this year, which has proven to boost U.S. jobs and the economy while reducing the national trade deficit, year after year. 

Oklahoma Congresswoman Kendra Horn has already added her support for renewal of Brand USA, and we urge all Oklahoma representatives to do the same this year. It’s common-sense legislation that benefits us all. 

Brand USA was established by the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act in 2010, and reauthorized in 2014. It is the highly successful public-private partnership responsible for promoting the U.S. as a travel destination and communicating official visa and entry policies to international leisure and business travelers.

Brand USA’s ability to drive inbound travel to the U.S is critical, particularly as America’s share of global long-haul travel declines. More people are traveling than ever before, and the U.S. is losing out on this lucrative market to our competitors – many of whom are spending millions on marketing. Brand USA helps level the playing field and works for all of America, including the state of Oklahoma. 

As the destination marketing organization for the United States, Brand USA’s mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide. The program’s marketing efforts to bring in billions of dollars in visitor spending strengthens our country’s trade balance and supports tens of thousands of jobs.

Though the program has been a proven success in boosting tourism to the U.S. and driving economic growth, the 2018 congressional budget caps agreement diverted Brand USA’s user fees away from the program to general revenue. The future of the United States’ international travel promotion and planning will be in jeopardy until the program is reauthorized.

Over the past six years, Brand USA generated an additional 6.6 million visitors from other countries, added $47.7 billion to our economy, and adds an average of 52,000 new jobs annually as a result of international travelers.

To learn more about Brand USA and the positive impact made on our country go to thebrandusa.com. Check out the U.S. Travel Association website at ustravel.org/issues/renew-brand-usa for details how to contribute to the future success of Brand USA.  

For the most current and up-to-date information in regard to the Stillwater hospitality industry, go to VisitStillwaterOK.org, “Like” Visit Stillwater on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @VisitStillwater.  You may even win one of our online contests throughout the year.

Cristy Morrison, President and CEO, represents Visit Stillwater, 2617 W. 6th Avenue, Stillwater, OK  74074.  She can be reached at Cristy@VisitStillwater.org or by calling 405-743-3697.

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